Because holiday season begins in September—since that’s when the elves and reindeer go up in the CVS windows—Christmas is a marathon, an exhausting run to Mariah Carey, Elf, and black, red, and green Fridays.
Some Christians slow down to savor the beautiful aspects of the season, such as the Advent candles in Catholic masses. When we finally arrive at the Nativity, December 25, everything seems to end with the unwrapping of the gifts.
Amidst such ripping and tearing, I’d like to know why the ending is so abrupt. Though the criticism that Christmas is a materialist hoax is overwrought, I sometimes do feel empty at the end of the marathon.
Yet this is why there are 12 days of Christmas, stretching from the birthday of Christ to the first Sunday after January 1, the Epiphany. This feast celebrates the granting of God’s grace to the Gentiles in the form of the Three Wise Men. Everybody is called to celebrate the birth of God’s son.
Yet how do we celebrate for 12 days when the marathon has already endured for months? I struggle with the same myself.
The New Year represents a key opportunity to consider the true nature of Christmas. It is a time for resolution and forgiveness, a time for ridding ourselves of vice and of renewing our virtue.
The holiday season is terrific for this very reason: We can relax and start anew. That is something every person of every religion can agree to.
Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!