Wednesday, January 6, 2016

the twelve gifts of Christmas

Yesterday was the traditional twelfth day of Christmas.
I was going to do a Twelve Days of Christmas post with artwork to accompany but I got stuck on the numbers, couldn't think of much more than:

 1 great-grandmother enjoying the day surrounded by family;

and our 2 year-old granddaughter fascinated by the story of the Nativity; 

and the 3 wise Kings who traveled very far;

and a 4 legged dog who loved all the visitors and attention.

I couldn't think of any more. And I have always wondered what is the deal with eight maids a milking, nine drummers drumming, ten pipers, eleven ladies and twelve lords. Those are gifts? Maybe it is a description of the huge party to be held on January 6.
Advent is the season in the liturgical Church anticipating Christmas, observed during the four weeks before Christmas Day.  Advent is a quiet season, a contemplative time.

In America, people put up holiday decorations in November and then hold parties, attend parties, shop, buy gifts, and rush all the way until December 25. After that massive holiday binge of eating and drinking and spending everyone has a letdown crash which feels terrible.
In the liturgical Christian tradition, the birthday party for Jesus begins on December 25th and the celebrating goes on for twelve days ending on January 6.
January 6 is traditionally called Three Kings Day  to commemorate the arrival of the three visitors who traveled far from the East to find the newborn King. In some homes, who take this seriously, the children do not receive gifts until the day that baby Jesus got His gifts!