Saturday, December 11, 2010

12 Days of Christmas

I've seen a couple of instances where the "12 days of Christmas" were thought to start in the weeks leading up to Dec. 25. Well, all right, one friend claimed that he knew what it really was but chose to observe his own twelve days beforehand with special Facebook posts. "Really," he wanted to know, "who sings those songs after Christmas?"

The answer is: Catholics do, of course. Well, not sleigh ride songs or "Frosty the Snowman." But for a couple of weeks afterward when we go to church we sing the ones about Jesus. Being Catholic means living two different calendars, ones that don't always quite coincide. I don't know how many are so countercultural as to refuse to put up a tree or lights until the actual day. But in some Catholic homes you will find less of a rush to decorate to the hilt a month or more ahead. I like a gradual adding of decorations leading through Advent to the Feast of the Nativity.

And in some Catholic homes you will find things like Advent wreaths, Advent calendars, Jesse trees, and reflection booklets centered on Advent themes. Yes, it's Advent now, and Christmas, all twelve days and then some getting us to the Baptism of the Lord -- starts the evening of December 24.