The Twelve Days of Christmas


Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

—Isaiah 60:1 (ESV)

It has been a strange season. Advent is over, and Christmas is here. But for many, it may not feel like Christmas at all. We are still waiting for miracles. We still long for life to feel normal again. 

Christmastide (December 25th – January 6th) is about the gradual departure of darkness and the gentle dawning of light at Epiphany. We don’t have to cram all of Christmas into one day. At Christmastide, we shed the pressure of “the holidays” and how we always do things, and take on a new, relaxed rhythm of celebration. Kinder. Quirkier. Gentler. 

If you have a Christmas manger scene, or crèche, put the baby Jesus in his manger. Find some wise men (or make them out of Legos!) and put them far away. Each day of the Christmastide move the wise men closer and closer to the manger, to Jesus, the light of the world. On January 6th, they arrive, and the season of light begins, Epiphany. Otherwise, each day of Christmastide, do one thing less. Make space. Make it a holiday. Feel free to make them your own. 

We’ve put together a Christmastide playlist for you to listen to over the next twelve days. 

Some of the songs are traditional just to stir memories, and some not so well-known or widely heard at this time of year. Sit under your tree. Let the words wash over you. 

We have not been exactly here before, and again it is time to take hold of some fierce hope. Take courage! If you have had a hectic Advent or Christmas Day this year, may this Christmastide be a time for you to release the grip of anticipation and walk toward joy. 

“Epiphany” by Walter Brueggemann

Taken from his Prayers for a Privileged People (Nashville: Abingdon, 2008), p. 163.

On Epiphany day,
     we are still the people walking.
     We are still people in the dark,
          and the darkness looms large around us,
          beset as we are by fear,
                                        loss —
          a dozen alienations that we cannot manage.

We are—we could be—people of your light.

So we pray for the light of your glorious presence
as we wait for your appearing;
 we pray for the light of your wondrous grace
as we exhaust our coping capacity;
we pray for your gift of newness that
will override our weariness;
we pray that we may see and know and hear and trust
in your good rule.

That we may have energy, courage, and freedom to enact
your rule through the demands of this day.
We submit our day to you and to your rule, with deep joy and high hope.

Listen Along with our Christmastide playlist: