Just another traveler on life’s highway hanging out in the slow lane. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. Beyond the horizon is rest calling my name. Green pastures, still waters, my cup overflows.
By now everybody has been wearied by Christmas. Can’t wait to take down the decorations (Lord knows they’ve been up since the day after Thanksgiving), put the tree back up in the attic, exchange all those stupid sweaters and pen sets you got for something you really need, and clean house preparing for New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Whoa! What’s the rush? We are in Christmastide now. What? You never heard of the 12 days of Christmas. Yeah, aside from the partridge in the pear tree there is a liturgical calendar which says those 12 days run from December 25th to January 6th of 2019. This is when the commercialization and the hectic pace of pre-Christmas insanity finally takes a back seat to a season of fully appreciating the birth of Jesus. Christmastide ends on January 6 with the feast of Epiphany.
If you love your decorations and the nativity scene, just tell your complaining neighbors or your wife that it is perfectly proper, liturgically, to keep those joys of Christmas on display at least until January 6th. If they should lament having to see your lights and wreaths and tree and the baby Jesus on the front lawn another 12 days, inform them that the Catholic Christmastide lasts for 40 days into February and you are considering converting to Catholicism.
No, don’t do that. I am being facetious. The official church calendar calls this period the ‘octave of Christmas’, because in those 12 days are 8 solemn days of rejoicing, days emphasized by particular joy, lavishness, pomp, and glory. These are days to shout Hallelujah, meaning ‘praise ye the Lord’. And why is that? Because the baby whom we celebrate, literally or symbolically, has changed the world unlike any other event, or story, in history.
“Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 106:1
I like that. There is something comforting, something joyful in knowing that we trust a good, merciful God who sent us a baby, the greatest story ever told, to teach the world how to love. HALLELUJAH!