Christmas in the Home
—All 12 Days
Christmas is the time we celebrate God among and with in us: Emmanuel. We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. This human event helps us see Jesus in his full humanity.
Christmas, however, is not a one-day feast. It is a twelve-day season, now is the time for Christmas music and festivity.
Rejoice in the reality that God is among and within us in our own time.
The Christmas spirit is one of joy, gladness, and especially celebration.
Christmas symbols include the manger for Jesus' humble birth, angels who first announced his birth, and the Chi Rho, the oldest monogram for Christ (the first letters of his name in Greek). Christmas trees have symbolism, too. Especially in Germany apples represented Adam and Eve, recalling the medieval mystery play for Christmas Eve, roses for Mary and wafers for the Christ Child. Legend even has Christmas tree lights originating with Martin Luther, saying he was out walking and saw a fir tree surrounded by stars. It was so beautiful it inspired him to put candles on a special Christmas tree.
Christmas Eve begins the Christmas season, as all church festivals begin on the eve before the day. Most churches have Christmas Eve services appropriate for families with children. Some children enjoy attending midnight Christmas Eve services. However, for some it is helpful to get some sleep on this exciting night. If it doesn't work for your family to attend a service, and even if you do, it is a time to sing carols together and read the Gospel Christmas story.
Greet Christmas morning with, "Advent is over; Christmas has come! Christ is born!" Sing "Joy to the World" and talk a bit to affirm faith and why we give gifts. Serve a special Christmas bread for breakfast.
The Twelve Days of Christmas begin with Christmas Day as day #1 and continue until Twelfth Night, January 5, the Eve of Epiphany. These days are the Christmas season—time to celebrate! Now is the time to play and sing Christmas carols. Keep the Christmas tree and decorations up until Twelfth Night.
PDF files for a Christmas morning family worship leaflet has just a bit to read, to sing, and to pray. A quotation about gift-giving is also included. One verse or two of the Christmas story, with a single stanza of a carol, is provided for the Days of Christmas.
Print 2-sided on heavy stock and you'll have reusable leaflets that may simply be pulled out to be used year after year. If covers are decorated by the children, rather than printed, just print the second page. A cover is not provided for the Days of Christmas.
Reading should be done by both adults and children; it is important to involve everyone at an appropriate level. Used with the transformed Advent wreath, children may light and snuff candles, and, of course, read.
There are so many wonderful children's Christmas books: read one each day.
The twelve days are the perfect time to do Christmas entertaining. After spending a year in Scotland we hosted a Boxing Day (December 26th) party for mixed ages for years and years. Knowing we'd be having a big party the day after Christmas led to somewhat simplified Christmas dinners. I found entertaining friends during the real season was much more pleasant than squeezing entertaining in with all the other pre-Christmas activities.
The Christmas Story by the children of St. Paul's Anglican Church, Aukland, New Zealand