I’ve always found the significance of Christmas too great to confine to celebration on December 25th. So for the past few years I’ve enjoyed celebrating the 12 days of Christmas (personally, with family & via Facebook), by continuing to contemplate some of the themes of Christ’s coming beyond Christmas Day (now Day 1) and into the New Year.
If you like the idea too and would like to join me (or would simply appreciate a template to adjust to suit your own way of celebrating), here are the themes I’ve designated for each day for reflection and as a launch-pad for Scripture reading and seasonal singing.
2nd Day of Christmas: Celebrating and reflecting upon the 2 natures of Jesus (divine & human)
3rd Day of Christmas: The three gifts brought to Jesus by the Magi and how they show He is worthy to be praised and worshipped by people from all nations.
4th Day of Christmas: Celebrating the divine testimonies we’ve received concerning Jesus, including: the four heavenly harbingers of Christ’s birth (i.e. angel of the Lord to Joseph; angel Gabriel to Mary; angel(s) to the shepherds; star to the Magi); the four enscriptured praises to God in anticipation of/response to His birth (Mary’s Magnificat; Zechariah’s blessing; the angelic Gloria in excelsis Deo & Simeon’s praise to God); and the four gospel accounts of Christ’s life (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John).
5th Day: “Fish Day” Celebrating the names and titles of the Messiah in the acronym ΙΧΘΥΣ (Greek for fish and thus the <>< symbol for Christians).
Ιησοῦς – Jesus (“YHWH saves”)
Χριστός – Christ (“The Anointed One” of God)
Θεοῦ – God’s
Υἱός – Son (with respect to His eternal relationship to the Father and His Davidic Kingship)
Σωτήρ – Saviour (one who rescues or delivers people)
6th Day: Remembering God made the world through Jesus in six days, with humanity being created on the sixth day. Marvelling at the Creator becoming part of His creation.
7th Day: Meditating on the perfect rest and perfect peace that comes through Jesus, because of God’s redemptive work through Him that had it’s beginnings at Xmas.
8th Day: Remembering Jesus was circumcised to mark Him out as a participant in God’s covenant with Abraham – and that He became the fulfiller of all that the covenant entailed.
9th Day: Thinking of Jesus’ role as the Christ – the King (over all Kings) who would fulfill God’s promise to David by sitting on his throne forever and ruling over an everlasting Kingdom. [9 is connected with long-lasting and the monarchy in Chinese culture so I happily adapted the idea].
10th Day: Jesus was born “under the law” (represented in the 10 Commandments) in order that He might redeem those who were under the law, so that they might receive adoption (Gal 4:4-5)
11th – Reconciliation (1&1 joined together) – Jesus was born as part of God’s grand plan to reconcile all things to Himself in Christ (Rom 5:9-1; 2 Cor 5:17-19; Eph 1:7-10; Col 1:19-20)
12th – The cosmic, eschatological significance of Christ’s birth, spoken of allegorically in Revelation 12 (the birth of the child that will shepherd and rule the nations) and leading to the culmination of salvation history in the New Jerusalem (which is represented in the Bible by many 12s cf. Revelation 21-22) – where God and Christ dwell with us in all their fullness as Emmanuel (God-with-us).
I’m sure my list can be improved upon – but I do kind of hope the 12 days of Christmas catches on as a celebration amongst Christians. Because the Incarnation of the Son of God is far better contemplated in a season than on an all-too-short day like today.