Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 1

The idea of traditions has been in my thoughts lately. It seems that there should and can be a good balance between accepting the new and observing the old. If you lean too much towards one or the other, then there is an imbalance of either capriciousness or stagnation. 

Chris and I established three traditions for us to celebrate year to year as a family at Christmas. It won't be the end of the world if they change some day, but it would be nice to have a few things that are "us". My mom, stepdad, and sister were with us this year, so that was absolutely wonderful to have them be a part of building our traditions. They are:

1. Watching "The Muppet's Christmas Carol".
2. Home-made tacos for dinner on Christmas day.
3. A Peppermint Pig.

One of my greatest friends and her husband used to watch this movie every Christmas; it's my and Chris's favorite holiday film! Tacos are just one of the best things ever if you know how to make them right, and with my mom's training I think I'll be able to pull it off now. The Peppermint Pig is better explained by this website: 

Anyway, I was curious about the Twelve Days of Christmas tradition. After doing some research on the Twelve Days of Christmas song, I found two important facts: nobody agrees on what the meaning of the lyrics signifies, and everyone is pretty sure that the original meaning has been mostly lost. It appears to be a cheerful song that celebrates the Christmas season with imagery of bygone seasonal gifts. The one thing that most do agree on is that the Twelve Days start after Christmas and end on Twelfth Night, usually January 5th, after which begins Epiphany. 

The first day of the Twelve is Boxing Day; it is mostly observed across the United Kingdoms rather than America. Several cultures give presents on each of the Twelve Days, culminating with a celebration on Twelfth Night, which is also called Three Kings' Day or just Kings' Day. Some traditions say that Christmas decorations may be taken down anytime during the Twelve Days, but the last day to put away the holiday trimmings is Twelfth Night (supposedly it's bad luck if you leave decorations up past Epiphany). There are also the traditions of the Yule Log, the King Cake, wassail, and plum pudding.

In the interest of doing something interesting for the Twelve Days of Christmas, I will post something each day relating to Christmas and the season of rebirth as we approach the New Year. Here is today's selection, my favorite retelling of the Christmas story and an introduction to one of my heros, John. 

In the beginning was the Word
And the Word was with God
And the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through him
And without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

The light shines in the darkness
And the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John.
He came as a witness 
To bear witness about the light that all might believe through him.
He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light which enlightens everyone was coming into the world.

He was in the world
And the world was made through him
Yet the world did not know him.
He came to his own
And his own people did not receive him.
But to all who did receive him
Who believed in his name
He gave the right to become children of God
Who were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh
Nor of the will of man
But of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

We have seen his glory
Glory as of the only Son from the Father
Full of grace and truth.

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