Sunday, December 12, 2010

12 Days of Christmas #2

I recently posted the symbolism behind the gifts for the 12 days of Christmas.  Now the plot thickens!  Terrence Maher, a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Omaha, Nebraska, wrote an article about the 12 days of Christmas in this month's issue of The Lutheran Witness.  The following is what I learned from his article:

  • The Church's celebration of Christmas in the West (so not in the Eastern Orthodox churches) begins on Christmas and ends on Epiphany - January 6th.
  • Epiphany is older than Christmas!
  • The earliest records of celebrating Ephiphany, which means appearance or manifestation, date back to the fourth century in which the church celebrated the appearance of God, so Christ's birth! 
  • By the sixth century, Dec. 25th was the day Christ's birth was celebrated.  Ephiphany focused on the arrival of the kings!  Today, on Ephiphany, the focus is still on the arrival of the kings. 
  • So from Dec. 25th - Jan. 6th is the timeframe for the 12 days of Christmas, although technically, Jan. 5th is the twelvth night! 
  • Terrence Maher shares in the article that many churches have special services for each of the twelve days.  This I'll have to research. 
So, I'd like to give special thanks to Terrance Maher for sharing this bit of information about the origion of the twleve days of Christmas. 

If you'd like to order a subscription to the Lutheran Witness click on the slideshow image below when the Lutheran Witness ad appears.  The slideshow also contains an ad for the song, "12 Days of Christmas", a collection of articles about Luther from the Lutheran Witness, and a book about the history of the 12 Days of Christmas.  Let me know if you purchase any of these items and what you think about them. 

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