Christmastide: Carrying Christmas with Us
Did you know that the church calendar has an extended Christmas season built into it? We call this stretch of days Christmastide. This period begins on Christmas morning and goes for twelve days, ending on January 6 with Epiphany and the arrival of the magi to the Baby Jesus.
Not coming from a highly liturgical background, I have never recognized these days as part of Christmas. But what if I used these twelve days for Christmastide’s intended purpose? What if I let my heart dwell on this miracle that started this season in the first place?
My hope is to use this stretch of days to re-center my heart. A spiritual renewal time of quiet in my schedule that can prepare me for the next twelve months.
I don’t want to let these days disappear like they have in years past. I want to add some intentionality, to actively participate in this Christmastide—be a relisher, rather than a passive bystander. I declare that Christmas is this entire season, and since I’m in charge of my family’s schedule, I have some control over how we spend it.
We will have downtime. We won’t rush. We will keep the Christmas decorations up. We will feast, since many liturgical traditions refer to this time as a “feast” anyway. A celebration. So we will eat and revel. And we will let the themes we just left behind of hope, love, joy, and peace be our mantra for this time.
As I step out of Christmas and into the rest of the year, I remember that Christmas is not the beginning of the story—God existed before Jesus was born—but it is a crucial part. God entered his own creation in a humble, powerful move. He stepped onto earth in the way all of us have, that he might love us in the way no one else could.
I want to dwell on this story. Soak it in. Remember that this is a message for my entire year, January through December. That my faith that hinges on the cross first needed a baby in the flesh. What a hopeful, joyful, peaceful, love-filled season indeed.
What is usually your predominant feeling when Christmas Day is over? What can you do to wrap up Christmas well from a practical standpoint?