When I was a kid, we had great Christmas times. Mom would bake, family would come in. My dad and I would chop down a tree every year. School was out; it was a great season.
I loved all our traditions, save one. On Christmas day, at around 10:45 a.m. my dad would say, “Alright, let’s take it down.” He was referring to the tree. We would pull all the decorations down and pack them away and place the poor dead tree carcass in the back field. And with a late lunch that day, Christmas was over.
I get it; but, the thing I dislike to this day about Christmas is that it is over so quickly. As a young worship leader, years ago, I tried celebrating Advent with my family, an age-old tradition where you light an advent candle every night and spend time in prayer and readings, before Christmas. However, if you are in the ministry, or any American Christian, that is the most hectic month of the year with shopping, parties, concerts, etc. This past year, we did something differently, and I loved it!
I celebrated not one, but twelve days, of Christmas—also known as “Twelvetide.” This is also an old tradition, some say going back to the very early church. The first day is Christmas Day, and the last day is Epiphany, which is January 6. Another great thing about celebrating this way, is while all of the secular world is done with Christmas, and getting ready for the SuperBowl, you can actually celebrate the season, free from all the brouhaha. It takes a little planning, but here are my first four days from last year:
• December 25: Christmas Day, as normal
• December 26: The old church called this “Wren Day,” so I built a wren house, gave it to my wife.
• December 27: Church calendars call this John the Apostle day, so I spent time reading 1,2,3 John.
• December 28: Martyr’s Day, I gave a donation to Voice of the Martyrs
We also had a feast day, a stocking day, and a day of fasting. We exchanged a small gift each of the twelve days. By the way, you can also use that Advent candle set that you’ve meant to use each year as well.
I realize that to some, this time of family worship may seem long and drawn out, however if you want to do something different this Christmas, Twelvetide is great way to celebrate. I will have a sample twelvetide calendar for this year on my research blog, if you’d like to see and use: biblicaltrumpets.org.
Merry Christmas (all twelve of them!) ν