I always think it’s such a shame that after preparing for Christmas for weeks and even months in advance (some folks scarcely wait for Halloween to pass!), people seem eager to dispense with it as soon as the presents are open and the dinner is digested. As if 25 December were the 12th day of Christmas and not the 1st. I just don’t get it.
I still have my Christmas tree and creche proudly displayed, and am cheerfully embracing Christmas at least until the Epiphany. Last year, I think I left everything up until the Presentation of the Lord on 2 February. I think I will do the same again.
That may sound a bit like going overboard, but I just love the Christ Child so much… I guess that, by my maternal instinct, I just want to “hold on” to His childhood for as long as I can. I mean, by the time February is over, Lent will have begun, and Christmas will seem quite far away. I always find that a bit jarring, but it does effectively hammer home the point that Christ came to us as a little babe solely for the purpose of eventually suffering and dying for us.
The red poinsettia, while vibrant and festive in its hue also reminds me of this truth: the tiny little cluster at the center of the poinsettia, surrounded by the huge bright red leaves, reminds me of the little baby in the manger, Whose birth is just the beginning of a life that will end blood-red… at least for a time. I do love poinsettias, and maybe I’m just odd, but I never see a red poinsettia without feeling a little twinge of sorrow. Just as I can’t see the Christ Child without also seeing Christ Crucified.
Also, in late January–sort of going along with this theme–we observe the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. This January will mark the 36th anniversary. I think it is appropriate to hold the Christ Child in our hearts at that time, along with His mother’s great “Yes” to His life.
In any case, I see no need to put this beautiful and wondrous season to rest so quickly, or to turn the infant Jesus out of mind and heart as if He were anything but the tremendous joy and wonder that He is.