A Sense of the Season
You probably know the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Even though a radio station once proclaimed the twelve days of Christmas as those before December 25, Christians have always kept Christmas as a season from December 25 until January 6 (the traditional Epiphany). The church calendar today even extends the celebration until the feast of the Baptism of the Lord the Sunday after Epiphany.
Here is what the church says about the season of Christmas:
"Next to the yearly celebration of the paschal mystery [meaning the Triduum and Easter season], the church holds most sacred the memorial of Christ's birth and early manifestations. This is the purpose of the Christmas season."
More than just "Jesus' birthday," the Christmas season is a time for remembering and reveling in the nativity of Christ, the revelation of Christ to the Jewish shepherds, the revelation of Christ to the Gentile magi (that's us!), Christ's baptism by John in the Jordan, and Christ changing water into wine at the wedding "on the third day" (John 2:1) in Cana of Galilee. In all these saving events, we know that "the Word is made flesh and dwells among us."
How can we keep Christmas not just as a day, but as a season? Keep the tree up (and watered!) and shining bright until the Baptism of the Lord.
Sing carols and read the scriptures every day.
Safely put candles around your creche: Use small glass votive candle holders, and place them away from the straw. You might also want to add a little water to the bottom of the glass before putting the candle in an added precaution that will also help you clean the glass more easily. When you light the candles, sing or say the prayer of the angels: Glory in heaven and peace on earth, now and forever. Amen.