Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Reviving the Tradition of the 12 Days of Christmas

Since my children have been born Christmas has taken on a whole new level of chaos and stress. I spend most of the month running around trying to check off the million and one boxes on my To-Do List, buying way more than we need and praying that I don't once again forget do to our Advent devotional at dinner. This year I opened my own small home business and added a whole new layer of stress and chaos to my world. However, this required me to stop and prioritize a little more that I have him the past few years. I have had to really think about what parts of the Christmas chaos are really important to me and to my family.

This morning while gulping down a cup of coffee I felt the need to rattle off my To-Do List to my husband as he was running out the door to work. He is taking vacation starting tomorrow and in my mind this equals help with completing my list... Daddy Frankenstein is a very patient and wise man. He smiled at me and said "You know there are the 12 Days of Christmas?!" You don't have to get it all done by the 25th. You have the season of Christmas Tide."

Well, that had me thinking all day and led me on a bit of a quest. It turns out that the 12 days of Christmas was in fact a real thing and it has real meaning. It seems to me that this very important part of the Christian experience has been left behind, (maybe like no longer ringing the bell in mass at communion- I am bitter, I miss the bell- moving on). When reading up and researching the 12 Days of Christmas I came across a few people who have tried to revive the tradition. One of them is a priest. I have listed links below so that you can check them out. I have decided though to kinda do my own thing and I am going to share it here with all of you.

It seems the 12 Days of Christmas is connected to 12 key truths about Christ. The "True Love" in the song is God and these are the 12 gifts God has given us. Each gift has significance and are important parts of understanding the Bible and our relationship with Christ. While there doesn't seem to be much historical evidence to support the song being created to teach hidden messages, it doesn't ever hurt anyone to find a way to learn more about and come closer to God.

I think for me the bigger question is, what would it be like if we really did make Christmas a 12 day experience? How did we come to stuff Christmas into a one day celebration? Would we just make Christmas into a crazy 12 day experience or would we not feel so much pressure if we spread things out? I know for me there was some relief in the idea that I could sprinkle Christmas over an extended time frame rather that cram it all into one day. I am also aware that as Christians we are called to have the spirit of Christmas in our hearts all the time, but what if the celebration of the birth of God's son was important enough to us to take the time to make it a multi-day celebration and worship?

Here are a couple links to historical explanations of the 12 Days of Christmas:

Christian History: The Real Twelve Days of Christmas

Catholic News Agency: The History of the 'Twelve Days of Christmas'

Living the 12 Days of Christmas

The Voice: The Twelve Days of Christmas

Just for fun, here is my favorite version of The Twelve Days of Christmas