A faithful reader of my column emailed to take me to task about something I didn’t write last weekend.
She was disappointed I didn’t follow my annual tradition of writing about Christmas in my column right before the holiday. She suggested I’d fallen in with a bad crowd of politically correct people, afraid to acknowledge the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for fear of the cancel culture.
I chuckled as I started my response:
“Thanks for writing. I believe there are 12 days of Christmas, not just one. By my count, my column on Christmas should arrive on the third day of Christmas, along with three French hens.”
I truly believe the world would be better off if we celebrated the Christmas season in these 12 days between Dec. 25 and the Epiphany on Jan. 6.
So many people spend months “celebrating Christmas” during the Advent season. It’s not uncommon to hear Christmas songs and see lights hanging as soon as Halloween is done.
Somehow people tire of it, though, and by the time night falls on Christmas Day, they’re ready to kick their trees to the curb and move on to something different, like thinking ahead to New Year’s Day or Valentine’s Day or something.
I personally believe the gift of God becoming man for our sake needs more than one day to celebrate. As many times as we’ll mark three- or four-day weekends for holidays as innocuous as Fourth of July or Labor Day, it seems right to spend a little more time contemplating the one who saved all our souls.
These are good days to ponder how lucky I am that Jesus walked among us, so he could provide a model to us all of how to live. It’s good to ponder how he was both divine and man. It’s fruitful to really contemplate the kind of selfless love it takes to make that happen.
They’re also good days to consider whether I’m a person who truly deserves that salvation. We all have areas of our lives where we falter. We have blind spots that keep us from living up to our potential as children of God. It’s worthwhile to spend a couple of these days thinking about how I’m not, as author Matthew Kelly describes it, “becoming the best version of yourself.”
I’ll enjoy these days to get closer to my family too. I’m taking a few days off work and looking forward to playing and spending time with my daughters, getting to know them as individuals a little more and maybe make an indelible mark on their memories that their dad had time for them.
Whatever your use of these days, please don’t shortchange Christmas. It’s more than a single day on a calendar. It’s the start date on becoming the person God wants you to be. When you spend these 12 days contemplating that, you realize that kind of love is the greatest gift of all.