“Now Christmas is past
Twelfth Night is the last…”
~Robert Herrick, 17th century English poet
My family likes to leave our Christmas decorations up through Epiphany, today’s observance of the Wise Men’s visit that coincides with old English Twelfth Night. I’m glad there is a traditional and liturgical reason for lingering this precious season, for it is always a little hard to see it pass. And in some ways, I almost enjoy it more after Christmas Day, when our evenings are a bit freer to sit by the fire and lighted tree, listening to Christmas albums and being quietly thankful that He came. After all, the 25th only marks the first of the twelve days of Christmas.
But it will pass, probably before I am ready. The ornaments will come off the drying, sweet-scented fir branches and the tree will be put outside. The crèches will be packed away in tissue for next year, the light-twined garlands from the front fence coiled in their black garbage bags. And the living room will feel a little bare, but for the camellias that always seem to bloom in time to brighten the house after “Christmas is past.”
But Jesus does not pass. He has come, and is coming, but He is also still here, now, Immanuel all year long. And I am so thankful for how Christmas, each year, reminds me of that…reminds me that heaven has come near, that our Lord is a God of miracles, that He loves us more than we can grasp, that in the world we will have tribulation, but He has come as light into the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Lord, help me seek You this year like the magi did, to fall down and worship You with my eyes on Your face alone. To keep Christmas in my heart all year long.
O Holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today
We hear the Christmas angels their great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel.