A Meaningful Twelve Days of Christmas

by Lee Buford on December 14, 2010

As you’re probably already aware, today is the first of the “Twelve Days of Christmas.” No, it’s not the “official” twelve days (after Christmas), but rather the much hyped commercial version of manic consumerism that is the twelve days leading up to Christmas…you know, the twelve that began today with all the radio contests, shopping sprees, and can’t miss give-aways to “lucky, caller #12.” And if you’re not in the Christmas spirit by now you’d better kick things into high gear because the big day is drawing is near.

While most will spend the next twelve days (or at least eleven) in a furry of shopping, preparation, and travel, what will you be doing? What do the “Twelve Days of Christmas” represent to you, and what do you and your family ultimately celebrate on Christmas Day?

The answers to these questions will vary somewhat for all of us. And while we know that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, we typically treat it as anything but. As the traditional “Twelve Days of Christmas” (before Christmas)  suggests, much of our focus will be on gifts, food, travel, and family. We might mix Jesus into the equation at some point…at least in prayer. But in all honesty, the likelihood is that we will fail miserably at celebrating this occasion in the manner we should, for the reasons we should…that is, if we don’t make a commitment to do it differently this year.

So let’s do just that! This year let’s celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, and let’s share the meaning of Christmas with as many people as we can. Let’s start a new tradition today!

Here are a few ideas:

  • A great place to start is with the story itself, by reading Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus in the Bible (Luke 2:1-20).
  • Set aside time daily for prayer, reflection, and thanksgiving for God’s gracious gift to all of us. Take the time to celebrate with Him.
  • Share the story with others, especially family members, friends, and co-workers. You can start the conversation by asking them what they are thankful for this Christmas, or what they are doing to celebrate.
  • Take the next twelve days to give rather than receive. Look for opportunities to give of your time, money, and talents. Opportunities are all around us, especially during this time of year. Model the life of Jesus.
  • Carve out time in your family’s celebration of Christmas to celebrate the birth of Christ. Teach your kids about it. Share with each other the things for which you are thankful. Be intentional about creating a tradition that will carry on after this year.
  • Pray. Pray for those in need of the gift you have received, whether you know them or not. Pray for those around the world who are sacrificing much to spread the gospel. Pray that a world in need of a savior would come to know the One who is just that, the One for whom the party is thrown.

There are many others you could add. In fact, please do so below if you’d like. But do something. Do something to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas this year. Do something to praise God and point to His grace and glory during a time of year when so many are hurting, reaching, and searching. This is great news for everyone…a reason for rejoicing! As the angel said to the shepherds,

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”  Luke 2:10

Shine His light into the darkness this year. Testify to His goodness and mercy to the undeserving, and encourage others to do the same. Give someone the greatest gift they could receive.

If not we’ll all just be sitting around waiting for partridges in pear trees, calling birds, and golden rings. And that’s not Christmas.

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