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What are the Twelve Days of Christmas?

During Advent, we all excitedly look towards celebrating Jesus’s birth. However, December 26 arrives and the world resets to its ordinary preoccupations, the festive preparations discarded like so much wrapping paper. That’s what is wonderful about observing the Twelve Days of Christmas: it lets us pause and keep reflecting on God’s grace and the miracle of Christmas after the busyness of Christmas Day is past.

Why the Twelve Days? Since at least the Second Council of Tours in 567 AD, Christians have observed the Twelve Days of Christmas (or Christmastide) as a celebration of God’s goodness to us. The days are bookended by Christmas Day at the start and Epiphany, the traditional celebration of the wise men’s arrival, at the end.

The traditional days we mark as Jesus’s birth and the Magi’s visit are likely not the exact dates for either event, but they provide us with an opportunity to reflect on the very real, historical occurrences behind them. The Twelve Days of Christmas encourage us not to make Christmas not a mere hubbub-surrounded milestone in the year, but a period to absorb the wonder of God’s plan to redeem the world.

If you would like to join us in observing the Twelve Days of Christmas, our free devotional booklets are each designed to help us reflect over twelve days on different aspects of God’s love. Should you stop by outside of December 25 - January 6, of course, you are still welcome to download one and read through it, for though the seasons of the year may change, God’s love is true every day of the year.

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