Christmas: More than a day. It is an entire season.


To the world Christmas, may seem to begin way before Dec. 25, so celebrating Christmas is just a one-and done event.

But Christmas is surely so much more than just one day. It is an entire liturgical season to celebrate.

So, keep your tree, Nativity set, and other decorations out for a while.

As we know, Christmas is one of the most important days of the Church year. It is second only to Easter Sunday itself.

Celebrating the birth of Jesus, Christmas is the high point in the mystery of the Incarnation. Our students know the Incarnation is the event that occurred when God became flesh or Jesus became human.

Jesus took on flesh (carne in Latin) for a few reasons.

The main reason Jesus became human was to save us “by reconciling us with God.”

In addition, Jesus came to fulfill and satisfy the prophecies of the Old Testament.

He became man to show us the Father and so we might know God’s love.

Jesus took on our human nature to be our model of holiness.

Finally, Jesus became man to make us “partakers of the divine nature.”

Some people might find it hard to believe that the true Christmas Season only begins on Christmas Day, given the fact that the “Christmas creep” now begins well before Halloween.

That’s right — Dec. 25 marks the official start of the 12 Days of Christmas, the Christian tradition that shares its name with that famous stick-in-your-head Christmas carol.

The 12 days of Christmas is the period marking the time between the birth of Jesus and the coming of the Magi, the three wise men.

Some families choose to mark the 12-day period by observing the feast days of various saints (including St. Stephen on Dec. 26 ) and planning daily Christmas-related activities.

But for too many, things go back to business as usual after Dec. 25.

We must remember that the liturgical season of Christmas begins with the vigil Masses on Christmas Eve and concludes on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (which in 2024 will be celebrated Jan. 7).

During this season, we celebrate the birth of Jesus into our world and hearts and reflect on the gift of salvation that is born with him, including the fact that he was born to die for us.

I hope you will wait until Christmas Day to begin singing “The 12 Days of Christmas” instead of ending the song on Christmas Day.


Mrs. Emmel teaches at Immaculate Conception School in Jefferson City. This article was originally published in the December 2023 edition of News from the Pews, Immaculate Conception Parish’s quarterly newsletter.