We are all familiar with the concept of the 12 days of Christmas. But when do they begin and end? The first Day of Christmas is 25th December when we commemorate and celebrate the birth of Jesus. In some traditions the 12 days end with Twelfth Night on 5th January, and the day of Epiphany, when the Magi brought their presents to Jesus, on the 6th January.
However some people start counting the 12 days of Christmas on the day after Christmas, which makes January 6th Twelfth Night. This means the arrival of the Magi should still be part of Christmas.
Whichever way you choose to count the twelve days, the key event is the bringing of the presents of frankincense, myrrh and gold to Jesus, by the wise men. With three presents we assume there were three wise men. But in fact the Bible does not state the exact number of men!
Christmas is a time when we too give presents.
- Take a moment to reflect on the presents you received this Christmas.
- The people who gave them to you.
- Your delight or disappointment in them…….
- And be thankful for both the people and the presents.
In the traditional song ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ many presents were given on each of the twelve days. How many presents were given is a typical question in Christmas Quiz. The answer is 364! Almost one a day for a year!
While we associate the giving of presents with Christmas and on Birthdays, there are various other occasions when the giving of presents occurs. As the Christmas season comes to an end this year, take a moment to consider how you may take the spirit of giving into the new year. Giving does not have to incur financial cost. We can give our time, our attention and our energy to those close to us, and to those in our community, or to those further afield, through prayer and random acts of kindness and a variety of other ways.
Now, to close this reflection, I would like to invite you to take a few moments to be still, to quieten your mind and to be aware of God’s presence with you.
Imagine now the Jesus is standing in front of you with one hand behind his back.
When he has your attention, he moves his hand from behind his back and holds out a beautifully wrapped present to you.
How do you feel? You take it and hold it for a moment or two.
Do you have any idea what might be inside?
You look at Jesus……What does he say to you?
You untie the ribbon….undo the paper……and open the container.
What is inside? How do you feel? What is your response?
Spend time with Jesus……………close this time with praise and thanksgiving.
There is an audio version of this meditation, called The Gift on the website.
It lasts 15 minutes including narration, music and silence. You can access it here.