Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year...or Merry Christmas?

If Jesus' Birth is meant to be the event that marks the turning of our calendar year, then what better day to celebrate Christmas than January First!

Christmas is not just one day a year. Yet it seems that all the decorations come down and all the "Merry Christmas" greetings cease on December 26. The holiday comes to an abrupt end. My neighbors have removed the Christmas lights from their houses and taken down their trees, but we haven't even rung in the New Year of our Lord - which is 2009 years since the birth of Jesus. How can we say that Christmas is already over when we have not even counted down to the end of his 2008th year? Not until January 1st do we arrive at that glorious event!

When you think about it, January 1st makes more sense as a "Christmas" holiday than December 25th. It marks the actual date of the New Year, which is counted from the birth of Jesus. How fitting that January 1st falls in the middle of the ACTUAL Christmas SEASON...and yes, Christmas is a SEASON on just ONE DAY! The season begins on the vigil of Christmas (the evening of December 24) and extends to the Sunday after January 6. With that in mind, we can see a sort of "build up" from December 25 until January 1 (when we arrive at the turning of the calendar, the climax of Christmas, the apex of the celebration) and then a winding down till the end of the Christmas celebration. New Year's Day is quite literally a central part of Christmas. Let's keep it that way! Or, let's make it so, again.

So with all the commercialization of December 25th, perhaps it is time we stake a claim on the WHOLE Christmas season and set our sights on the New Year as a Christmas Holiday - not just a secular feast of drunken revelry and the dropping of an illuminated sphere in Times Square.
Yes, let's take back Christmas...let's take back ALL of it! Let's mark the turning of the calendar with Christmas Joy!

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