An Event, But So Much More: Fourth Day of Christmas


December 28, 2018 (Updated: first published Dec 2015)

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It’s Friday.

My guess? Most people are already looking forward to football (39 bowl games – 78 teams. Oh the humanity. So many games that none are important anymore.) #Inflation #CantKeepTrack

People also semi-dread going back to work. Some are trying to figure out how are they going to pay for all the excesses of the past two months. (Or, for certain procrastinators, the excesses of the 24 hours before the First Day of Christmas.)

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Is this really what the Fourth Day of Christmas is all about? Why should the glow fade so fast? And really, what was the glow all about?

Here is something I received this morning from Ben Sternke of Gravity Leadership. This is the Church’s official observation of the Fourth Day:

Today is the “Feast of the Holy Innocents,” where Christians around the world remember the children killed as Jesus was born – the “holy innocents” (Matthew 2:13-18). Here’s Shane Claiborne on the Holy Innocents:

“Today we remember all the little ones, born and unborn, who are sacrificed in a culture of death that has not yet welcomed the good news of Jesus. And we recall that Herod’s kingdom is now long gone, but the kingdom of God goes on. We can also recommit ourselves to resist the bloodshed of our contemporary Herods, for our allegiance is to the baby refugee, the Savior who was born in a manger in the midst of a genocide. May he move us with compassion for all who suffer today.”

If I keep my thinking superficial and sentimental (avoiding such reflection as that above) there is a lazy side of me that wants to see holidays extend themselves. I have to bestir myself to get back into the flow of regular work and life. What helps sometimes is to remember the etymology of the word holiday. It’s pretty obvious when you stop to think.

Holiday means Holy Day.

Christmas is not just an event. It’s an awareness of reality – a celebration of a historical event. There was an Incarnation. But it’s also a celebration of the ongoing eternal gift.

The effects of the Incarnation aren’t over in a few days. They aren’t over these 21 centuries later. We have just experienced our annual pitiful human attempts to observe and remember that momentous invasion of our space.

Some branches of the church intentionally observe Christmastide, the 12 days of Christmas. I believe more of us need to do that. Let the celebration begin on the First Day and let it permeate the next couple of weeks as we reflect and think about the event and the results of Christ come to earth.

Sunny Christmas

This is the Fourth Day of Christmas. How do you intend to keep your heart and spirit aware of His presence and of His work around you during this Christmastide?

By the way, it’s OK to keep feasting. We have something One to celebrate!

 

This is the fourth in a series of 12 consecutive articles on the 12 Days of Christmas. Here are links to the rest of the series:

The 12 Days Have Begun!: First Day of Christmas

What Did You Get for Christmas?: Second Day of Christmas

Most People Missed the Good News: Third Day of Christmas

Are You Still Playing Carols?: Fifth Day of Christmas

Slow It Down: Sixth Day of Christmas

Silvesterpunsch: Seventh Day of Christmas

Let It Snow (or not): Eighth Day of Christmas

Whatever Happened to Christmas?: Ninth Day of Christmas

We Long for Transcendence, but Look in the Wrong Places: Tenth Day of Christmas

So Done with the Holiday: Eleventh Day of Christmas

Those Who Are Wise Still Seek Him: Twelve Day of Christmas

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