Greeting cards have all been sent
The Christmas rush is through
But I still have one wish to make
A special one for you Lyrics from ‘Merry Christmas Darling’ – The Carpenters
During my caffeinated quiet time today I reflected on the odd way we celebrate Christmas. We rush pell-mell to Christmas Day with intensity that would make a Marine drill instructor proud. The build up to Christmas goes on for weeks and then, before you can assure everyone that Mary did know, it is over.
Maybe the idea of the Twelve Days of Christmas is a good one if we can overhaul the confusing and messy gift list. The cost to fulfill the 12 Days of Christmas shopping list inflated to $39,094.93 this year. Labor costs have driven up the price for the Lords a leapin’ and the Pipers piping by over 3 percent. The good news is the price for the gold rings declined 9 percent.
Let’s concede that the song shopping list needs to go. But observing the 12 days that separate December 25 from Epiphany on January 6 would be less stressful. The traditional custom was giving gifts throughout the 12 days, rather than the frenetic frenzy on the morning of December 25. That tradition has never really caught on in instant gratification America. The most difficult fruit of the spirit to successfully cultivate in this culture is patience.
Epiphany is defined at dictionary.com as “a sudden manifestation of the meaning of something.” The original Christmas epiphany happened in the fields outside of Bethlehem.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
Rewind to the beginning of this musing and the Carpenters iconic song. I do have one wish for you during this Christmas season and into the New Year. Actually, make that a prayer. I pray that you have found the One that the shepherds hurried to see.
Merry Seventh Day of Christmas! (Seven swans a-swimming…if you are keeping score)