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  • Writer's picture Denise-Marie Martin

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Updated: Dec 16, 2023

“As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, we are asked to choose which gift we really want. Will we welcome the gift of God's Son as the source of life, or will we drift to the tune of whatever music is played in the marketplace until, rootless, we wither and die[?]” - The Magnificat, Dec 2023, pg 194.


The Magnificat quote above implicitly contrasts the Christmas season as a marketplace celebration to that of a religious celebration. One celebration concludes on December 25 and is waved off with frenetic day-after-Christmas sales. Historically for Christians, however, the Christmas season had a long period of preparation and a celebration that continued for twelve days starting on December 25. Many people have forgotten this or, perhaps, have never known.


We are still in the season of Advent (or preparation), which includes the days starting with the 4th Sunday before Christmas through Christmas Eve. Advent is a time to prepare our hearts, minds, and souls to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ more than 2000 years ago, but also our sure expectation of his second coming.


This year I am doing something different. Instead of putting up my tree and nativity set mid-Advent, I am waiting until Christmas Eve night. As always, I will keep my decorations up through the Twelve Days of Christmas, which extend through the eve of the Epiphany.

Advent is the time to prepare our hearts, minds, and souls to celebrate the birth of Jesus the Christ more than 200 years ago, but also the sure expectation of his second coming.

The Epiphany is always celebrated on Jan 6 and recalls the arrival of the Three Kings to worship and present the child Jesus with gifts. "On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh." (Matt 2: 11-12, NRSV)


The actual arrival of the kings may have occurred much later; we just don't know. Some cultures do not exchange gifts until the Epiphany! As a child, my mother would always give my sister and me a small gift to celebrate the Epiphany, or "little Christmas" as she called it.

"On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh." Matt 2: 11-12 (NRSV)

May you and yours have a blessed Christmas season, and may the promises of our loving and faithful God, made manifest through the birth of His Son, be your light this Christmas season, in the New Year to come, and always.


Denise-Marie Martin is the author of Tangled Violets: A Novel of Redemption.


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