You may have noticed on your church bulletin that this Sunday after Christmas is known as Christmastide. It is also known as the Christmas Season, that period of time between Christmas and the eve of Epiphany (Jan. 5). Others call it the twelve days of Christmas. Ellen gives away big prizes on her show during the days leading up to Christmas and calls it the twelve days of Christmas. The point over many Church Councils down through the years was to ensure that these days between Christmas and Epiphany should be observed as a festival season, a holy season.
Many emphasize the holiness of this season by keeping the Advent and Christmas decorations up through January 5th. I see people with their trees at the roadside the day after Christmas, and all the decorations down as soon as possible. I think that is sad and misdirected. Keep the season alive. Enjoy the flavor of Christ-mass a little longer.
Our family has always made it a tradition of keeping the decorations in full focus until January 5th in order to keep the season alive through Christmastide.
One of the reasons for the Church to continue to speak to the holiness of this season of Christmastide was also to tamp down the pagan customs.
That brings us to the “Roll Tide” part. This has become a sacred season to many men for an entirely different reason – Holy because there is more football on T.V. than at any other time of the year. We are in the midst of over 35 college football bowl games culminating in the college National Championship game. Pro football is also on the verge of playoffs which will end with the Super Bowl.
Some wives call this season “The Worthless Husband” season because men are so distracted from real life by football. I must say that I am a bit torn by this time of the year. I love the Christmas season with its sacredness and significance to all the world. I do all I can to pay particular attention to the things of faith during this time of the year. However, I do love football at this time of the year because it seems that this is when each team brings their very best and leave it all on the field. Yes, I want to see Bama play, and the Panthers, and Florida State, and them Ducks I hear everyone talking about.
So how do we reconcile these two tides? May I suggest that we come together as husband and wife and talk about how we can be what we need to be and get done what we need to get done during this busy time of the year. Begin with sharing in “family” devotions each day. As husband, wife and children gather to share time in prayer and devotion that sets the tone for the end of this year and the beginning of the next that God is first and foremost in the lives of this family. This will help us to keep the “holy” in every day of every season.
Next, as husband and wife, negotiate where and when we all need to be something other than involved in watching football or shopping, or something that distracts us from family. What is tradition and what is not? What are we willing to give up or compromise in order to be more present to our Lord and our family? What new traditions are we willing to try that will help us keep the “Holy” in Christmastide?
Dear Lord, help us to compromise with other less important things in order that we may receive more of what it means to celebrate the “Holy” of Christmastide, and understand more of what it means to be heirs of God, in and through Jesus. Amen.