I was cleaning the kitchen last night, when my daughter came in and sadly said she will be so sad when Christmas is over. I asked her what was the reason behind her sadness, and she said that once Christmas day is over, then Christmas will be over too.
I love moments like those when I can tell her about my life as a child, when I was her age, and have her undivided attention.
So I began to tell her about our Christmas season. I'm Catholic, and growing up in a country where the majority of the people were also Catholic meant our holidays were heavily centered around their Christian meaning. Yes, there were presents and Christmas trees, but we were reminded every step of the way, whether at home or at school, of the real meaning of the holiday.
My Christmas celebration has never ended on Christmas day. My tree doesn't come down, I keep everything as it is until January 6. That's when my Christmas season ends. Growing up, I didn't really know the reason behind keeping the decorations up so long. Everyone else did it, and so did we. It was what we did.
As I've gotten older, I have learned the reason why we did that. Our church celebrates the Christmas season from Dec 25th until January 6. I guess it is simple if you think about it. The story of salvation didn't end with the birth of the Savior, it is just the beginning. There were other things that happened after his birth and during his infancy that were also important and we conmemorate those too. It all ends with the Epiphany, or the day we celebrate the visit from the Magi, the three Wise men.
I explained all this to her in terms she could understand. Regardless of how your worship, Christmas doesn't have to end on Christmas day. The message of Christmas, the giving of unselfish love that God showed us, doesn't end that day, and we shouldn't stop celebrating it just because our decorations are no longer on display.
She seemed to be satisfied with the answer. Who doesn't want to continue to celebrate Christmas a bit longer? I just hope our decorations survive until then. My sons seem to think they need to redecorate every day. They keep moving ornaments around, and rearranging our Nativity scene. Let's home we have decorations left until the Epiphany.