Next Wednesday (Dec. 24) at sunset will begin the real Twelve Days of Christmas. The 12 days refers to the Christian season of Christmas that will extend 12 days to the Night of the Epiphany in January.
The problem for many is that we have come to accept the 12 days of Christmas as the12 days prior to the holiday. In other words, the last 12 shopping days of Christmas. We hear the music and see all of the decorations during what many Christians celebrate as Advent (a time of preparation), and as soon as the Christmas season is finally upon us the music and the merriment is packed up with Santa figurines and the plastic reindeer.
During this week we get to take the time to prepare for this wonderful holiday that is celebrated around the globe by Christians as the birth of Christ and by others who see it as a grab for goodies for the gift exchange.
Let’s look at the preparation for this celebration with our friends and families and the spiritual aspect of this upcoming season. We can spend this week making sure that people we love and care about will have a seat at a dinner table to join with others in celebrating the birth of Christ. Make those calls to see that people you know have a place to go and if they don’t invite them to your dinner table. That will be a great gift to them.
Look around for times of services held in local churches as they celebrate this holy day and season. Some churches will have special pageants and presentations to mark the birth of that child so long ago. Other churches will have services on Christmas Eve and some even on Christmas Day. Look for their ads in this edition of the Star. Call the church you want to attend and ask for times for the services and plan on attending. They will have a seat ready for you - no reservations required.
As you make sure that you have found a gift for those dear to you take time to offer some gifts for others you might just take for granted. A special waitress? A really big tip will sure help out that person’s budget. The paper delivery person? Get up early as I do and hand over a gift or mail it to their home if you can find an address. They are the ones who drive early every single day in rotten weather and get our printed news to us before the coffee is poured. I find cash is always the right size.
Manna House can sure use a lot of help right now. Last week I was bell-ringing outside of Von’s and saw generous folks place money in the little house hanging from the sign. That money buys the food for some in this very community who might otherwise go hungry. As I eat my dinner on Christmas I will sure feel a great deal better knowing I have helped feed somebody else. That is a great desert.
Be a Secret Santa to somebody. Pick up their check at a restaurant and pay for it. When they are told by their server that “Santa” covered it just imaging the glee in their heart. Do it for elderly folks, young folks, middle-aged folks and you will really make that person’s day much brighter.
Drop off a check at one of the local schools. There are always projects that need funding and you can be that assistance they have been praying to get.
Buy a child a coat. I don’t care if it is the parent’s responsibility. The fact is that the kid’s folks don’t have the money to buy the coat and the kid is cold. When I was teaching I would always collect coats for kids at my schools. A couple of great friends were always “finding” jackets their children had out grown. Those “found” jackets always seemed to be brand new, just the size I needed for kids much smaller than the donors kids and it was always strange that one man always found jackets his kids left when they moved out. Truth be told ... his kids have never lived in this area.
Do nice things for others. Smiles, gifts, acts of kindness, and the sharing of time. Plan to make it a great Christmas holiday.
Next week I will be sharing with you some words about the wonders of Christmas that came about because others made plans during Advent to celebrate Christmas in a fabulous way. Their planning made the Twelve Days of Christmas that followed to be days filled with the joy of the holiday.
Be of good cheer.