Christmastide – 12 Days of Celebration
There can be a strange misconception that Christmas ends on the morning of December 26. Many people take down Christmas trees and other decorations and gear up for a secular New Year of parades and American football games. It does make some sense, because many people have been exhausted going to “Christmas” parties since early December, eating and drinking a lot, while chasing through the shopping malls.
Christmastide, however, from December 25 to January 6 – the former feast of the Epiphany when the Three Wise Men came to visit the infant Jesus – is actually the time for celebrating. In many Latin countries, gifts are exchanged on the Epiphany in honor of the gifts of the Magi.
The white fish recipes that are part of gourmet menus for Christmas Eve are actually an echo of a time when December 24 was the last day of Advent – a time of preparation. Christmas Eve was a day of fasting and abstaining from meat.
There is still time to reclaim the joys of Christmastide. Relaxation, reflection, some daily exercise and a slower pace – just spending time with each other – is the acceptance of the Gift beyond comprehension – Emmanuel – God with us.