Monday, December 28, 2009

The Twelve Days of Christmas

After I left home, Christmas never felt quite the same as it did when I was growing up in Nova Scotia. I couldn't quite put my finger on it - I blamed the fact that there wasn't enough snow, too much commercialism, or too much stress.
As a young girl, I remember "feeling" Christmas from Christmas Eve through the New Year and then, celebrating Old Christmas Day or Epiphany, on January 6th, by eating any leftover sweets and putting away the decorations.
This year, I became acquainted with the Twelve Days of Christmas, as recognized by many older denominations within the Christian faith and, suddenly, it made sense! My mother's mother was Anglican (who had come from England with her family) and much of what my mom did in our home, at Christmas, was based on traditions she, too, had grown up with. I didn't realize until this year that these traditions were based on her religious background.
I'm not sure she would have understood it all - I'm not sure I do, but many of my memories around the Christmas season are reflective of what she did in our home.
Oddly enough, this Christmas does feel like what I've been missing and it is accompanied with peace and contentment and deep personal joy. It feels like I "came home."
The song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, has different stories of origin and as many interpretations of the lyrics. What I think is most important, though, is the difference between all the preparation for one day (Christmas) and actually having a "season" when my heart can meditate on and appreciate God coming to us. Like the wisemen, who journeyed to Bethlehem, these twelve days are a time for my own spiritual journey to the King.
During each of the 12 days, I am considering some aspect of my Christian heritage, in relationship to the birth of our Lord. I started out with some of the traditional symbols of the song, i.e., a partridge in a pear tree representing Christ in the cradle and Christ on the cross; two turtle doves representing the Old and New Testaments which tell His-story. But, with each day, my focus becomes more personal, i.e., today, there were many things that came into my life that were unpleasant and unexpected, so when I pulled myself together, I focused my thoughts on the peace that the angels spoke about - "Peace on earth..." and the peace that surpasses all understanding which keeps our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
This is day #4 - the Christmas season has barely begun! So, I invite you to join me on a journey to see the King - to get close to Him, as the kings of old once did.
May this be a memorable Christmas for all!

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