Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year - Day 5 - 12th Day of Christmas

Not a Cloud in the Sky - January 5, 2011

Today was  the 12th Day of Christmas.  When these words are posted to my blog, it will be January 6, The Epiphany.  The Christian denomination of which I am a member observes several church "seasons," beginning with Advent, followed by Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost,  and The Season after Pentecost, with other special days in between.  Then comes Advent, again.

I was born into and raised in the Southern Baptist Church and remained a Baptist for almost 54 years. My father was a graduate of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth and an ordained Southern Baptist minister. Insofar as I remember, Southern Baptists don't officially observe any of the above mentioned church seasons, at least as such.   Nevertheless, in all my days under my father's roof, we did not put up the Christmas tree until December 24, and it was taken down not a day before the morning of January 6.  Thus it was all my growing-up years, and I continued the practice after I married and had children.  Christmas was special, but didn't start until Christmas Eve, and it lasted through January 5.

My children's father and I separated and were divorced in 1962.  Several years later, I met a man who, despite my having four young children, wanted to marry me -- and so we did, on December 2, 1968.  The children and I moved into his home and he almost immediately put up a huge Christmas tree, waaay before December 24!  A minor disagreement ensued, but I gave up my side of the argument because I saw that I was not going to win.  Another, slightly more vigorous argument ensued when, on the morning of December 26, he started taking the tree down!  I didn't win that one, either.  We were married almost 21 years before he died and, until the last Christmas before his death, the tree went up around December 1, and came down on December 26.   No Twelve Days of Christmas for us.

I moved to a much smaller home on December 14, 1990, and put up a Christmas tree that same day --- but only because I was hosting a pre-Christmas party for my coworkers in my new home.  Even though it was artificial,  I loved that tree, which was beautifully and lovingly decorated by my elder daughter.  I loved it so much that I left it up until February!

Then, I took the tree down, separated and divided all the ornaments into four boxes, and gave them to my by-then-adult children, being sure that each one had a several  of the ornaments we had used during the time they lived with me (the baby joined the Air Force in 1981.)  I gave the tree away, too.

From time to time, I attempt to decorate my home for Christmas, but my heart is not in it anymore.  Two years ago, I festively decorated my coffee table with a large candle and a bunch of Clementines.  I did have a beautiful front door wreath this year, made by Gardening Daughter, but otherwise my house was bare of decoration.   I save my energy for decorating the church for the Christmas Eve service and the Twelve Days of Christmas -- and there's plenty of that to do.  Also requiring energy is the taking down of the decorations, which we did following the service tonight.  After all, tomorrow is The Epiphany, and Christmas is over -- except for the work of Christmas, which, if you missed it, you can read about here.

Tomorrow is also a day.


Elizabeth said...

This resonates with me so much, Pat. When our daughter died some years ago, the first thing I did when we got home from the hospital was take down the Christmas tree. It had always been a real symbol of the season prior to that and we had all enjoyed decorating it, but it just seemed as if that all fell away. Since that year, our hearts have just not been in having a tree and like you I divided the ornaments to put away for the boys to have when they are older. We now have much simpler decorations and everything seems so much more peaceful and meaningful. x

Snap said...

Normally we put the tree up after Thanksgiving and leave it up until January 7. Not this year. We had a tiny fiber optic tree. It was really quite pretty. It went up late and came down early -- mainly because of our kitty. It was Cassie's first Christmas and she was way too entranced with all the pretty baubles (playthings) on the tree.

Arkansas Patti said...

I also feel the lack of enthusiasm to decorate. My 2 cats are a main reason but I think it is the lack of the under 10 year olds around that has as much to do with it. I always felt the decorations were for the kids.

rhymeswithplague said...

I am loving your daily posts -- don't ever stop.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Pat, I was born and raised a Methodist --and we did not celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas at that time. We sang carols from the first Sunday of Advent. My folks put up the Christmas tree about Dec. 15 and took it down on the 1st. That was always the way it was.

After going to college and getting my master's degree in Christian Education, I definitely learned about the Twelve Days of Christmas...

These days, we DO decorate about Dec. 1st (or right after Thanksgiving) --but we don't take things down until about the 5th... I love Christmas and will probably always enjoy decorating --but who knows. It is alot of work... ha

Happy Epiphany..

Hilary said...

Traditions - whatever they may be, have a way of winding down when the kids are no longer around to participate. Thanks for sharing yours.. past and present.

George said...

I'm an Episcopalian, so I know that Christmas is to be celebrated during the 12 days of Christmas, and, as Betsy said, we do take down our tree on January 5. However, I do cheat and start listening to Christmas carols shortly after Thanksgiving.