Like many Advent and Christmas traditions, the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” has differing interpretations, layers of meaning, and a questionable history. … Leaving the song aside, both the Western and Eastern Church (now known as the Orthodox branch) have celebrated the twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany, Epiphany being the traditional day celebrating the coming of the magi or wise men. Advent was the season of preparation with its four Sundays, followed by twelve days to celebrate the wonderful gift of God becoming human and dwelling with us. I am not sure if the popular song helps us, but it has firmly planted the twelve days of Christmas in our minds.
—Larry J. Peacock, The Living Nativity: Preparing for Christmas with Saint Francis (Upper Room Books, 2018)
How are you keeping Christmas alive during the twelve days? Join the conversation.
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”
—Matthew 2:1-2 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
Creator God, Give me wisdom to learn from the blessings, stresses, and sorrows of all that lies behind, and give me the strength and hope to press on to what lies ahead.
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(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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