Tuesday, December 31, 2013

7 Swans a Swimming

I feel rather delinquent in not sharing any photos of our family Christmas celebrations yet, but I am here to say—to myself as well as you—Christmas is not over yet!!

I find myself so frustrated with how quickly the world moves on from Christmas after Dec. 25. Even the Christian radio station stopped playing Christmas music at 5 pm on the 25th! They couldn't even wait until midnight?! Dec. 25 is just the beginning, the first day of Christmas. We could be enjoying twelve days, people! (Count them: Dec. 25 to Jan. 5; Jan. 6 is Epiphany, the start of the next season in the church year.)

I wrote a post about this several years ago called "Christmas Is the New Advent," saying essentially that the twelve days of Christmas are actually a better time for reflection and celebration of Emmanuel, God with us, precisely because most of society has already moved on. Without the pressure of "getting ready" for Christmas, buying and wrapping and baking and all (all of which I love), now is the best time to simply enjoy the season and think about what it means for Christ to have come as an infant, even when the festivities are done and we're back to the old grind of work and school.

Like so many families, we have our practices during Advent to help the kids (and us) to countdown and prepare for Christmas—Advent calendars, nativity scenes, keeping the baby Jesus figurine out of the manger until Christmas Eve, etc.—but how do we help the kids celebrate Christmas even after all the gifts are opened?

I started by telling the kids about the twelve days of Christmas, singing the song to introduce the concept and then announcing each day what day of Christmas it is. (Today is the Seventh Day of Christmas!) Kate has been keeping track even better than we have! Then, I transformed our Advent wreath into a Christmas wreath. Well, we just had a plate this year, no greenery, but in any case, out went the four purple candles and in went twelve tea lights. We light the Christ candle that was first lit on Christmas Eve to symbolize Christ's presence with us, and then light the appropriate number of tea lights.

Last year, we had a Twelfth Day of Christmas party to take down our decorations, drag out the tree, and demolish our gingerbread house. It's a fun way to mark the changing of the seasons, having carried our celebration of Jesus' birth beyond the gifts and big meals, back into everyday life.


EMU said...

I like the idea of the tea lights!

Bop's Sunday school lights the Christ candle every Sunday as part of their liturgy, which I love. I'm thinking about keeping ours out all year, too;

Sonya said...

I leave Christmas up until mid-January. It's so funny about all the people taking Christmas down right away after so many complained about it going up before Thanksgiving. I want to continue enjoying it so I'm in no hurry to take it down.

Rachel Moss said...

What a great idea!
I am ashamed to say that we have never even done Advent as a family. We have already discussed that we need to do it next year, though. Jeremy's brother and his family brought their wreath and candles with them when they came "home" for Christmas, and I loved the one night we were able to share with them. It is precisely what we need to really help our kids (and ourselves) focus on the real meaning of Christmas.


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