After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
Seem odd to still be talking about Christmas? It shouldn’t. Today marks the venerated twelfth day of Christmas. The holiday did not end on December 25; it began. You’d never know it. On the twenty-sixth, people immediately ceased singing “Joy to the World” and talking about Immanuel, God with us. It seemed unseasonable to talk about Jesus’ birth even twenty-four hours after his birthday. Christmas cards and greetings looked “out of place.” Yet in ancient church times, people sang carols for a full twelve days after Christmas, at which time, on Epiphany Sunday, the celebration culminated with the appearance of the wise men from the east.
A friend of mine shows this in his living room manger scene. To his children’s delight, he has the Magi appear somewhere on the other side of the room on the day after Christmas. With each passing day the threesome are moved closer to the manger scene, traveling past coffee tables and along the fireplace mantle until they reach the Christ child on Epiphany Sunday. The family continues to sing carols throughout the twelve days of Christmas, celebrating the fact that Jesus has come and is with us.
The new year looks bright because of Immanuel, God with us. Don’t be timid about spreading a little Christmas joy, even this late in the holiday season. “You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, ‘Here is your God!’” (Isa. 40:9). In your quiet time today, pick your favorite Christmas carol and sing it to God with a heart full of holiday joy.
So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come, peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Lord, any season is the right season to spread the good news of “God with us. “ Help me to do this today.