From our church bulletin:
“Needless to say, Christmas finds its focus in the nativity, but in its full observance it is far more complex and layered than our nativity sets and greeting cards would have us believe. A season of twelve days, Christmas invites us to hear not only the joyful angelic chorus, but also Simeon’s message to Mary: ‘This child is destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed…'(Luke 2:34). The story of God’s intervention in time and history does not begin or end in Bethlehem. It continues.
The twelve days of Christmas carry us to the Feast of the Epiphany (literally ‘the manifestation’). It recalls the visit of the Magi to the child Jesus, and celebrates the first manifestation of God incarnate to the gentiles. It marks the vastness of God’s love for all people, and in its accounting of political intrigue and of Herod’s desperate attempt to extirpate any claimant to his throne, it points ahead to the extraordinary price God is prepared to pay for loving us so. It points to the Passion, to Easter, to the Ascension and Pentecost and beyond…ultimately back, full circle, to those Advent themes of preparation, expectation and light.”