Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present visit a “children’s Twelfth Night party
Dr. Reed Lessing, Professor at Concordia Seminary Fort Wayne, wrote about the Sunday after Christmas these words – Presents are possessions. Parties are past. Purchases are causing a plethora of financial problems. Gone is the cacophony of choruses. Thank you so much. You shouldn’t have. It just fits. Under the holiday spell we shelled out over $270 billion dollars for toys, turkeys, travel, tinsel, trees and of course today, Tylenol. What now? No more chestnuts roasting on open fires. No more dreams of white Christmases. No more red-nosed reindeers. Size 36? Oh, that’s been exchanged for size 40. Eggnog is on sale for half price. Your brother-in-law ate the last piece of pecan pie. We are a people walking in darkness.”
I have tried for years to get folks to understand the importance of understanding that Advent is not Christmas. Christmas is not over on December 26, and January 6 begins a new season called Epiphany. I don’t know why people can’t get the hang of it but Dr. Lessing gets it about right. There is a reason that there are 12 days (nights) and it has to do with darkness. The themes of light and darkness are all over the story of the incarnation. Jesus is the light of the world come to our darkness lying in a manger. With January sixth the “Twelve Nights” have ended. In the struggle between light and darkness light has prevailed. The Magi come signifying that the Gentiles have seen the light as well and the light is for them too. The light also gained the victory over the darkness of Satan’s rule. Epiphany signifies revelation and appearance. Luther holds that the best Epiphany text is the account of Jesus’ baptism, which constitutes His inauguration to His prophetic office. He reveals heaven us as open windows and doors and Himself as God’s Kingdom come. I like Jesus appearance in the synagogue announcing that he is all mercy. Jesus one sentence sermon on Isaiah 61 is the great Epiphany announcement of light and life for me and we will look at it later, but………
Right now I am fascinated by the fact that in this culture we have forgotten the 12 days and nights of Christmas and they are embedded in our culture if we pay attention. Shakespeare wrote a play about “Twelfth Night” which is a celebration of the night before Epiphany and a celebration of the crowning of royalty. The Magi basically proclaimed Jesus to be a King. The “King Cake” parties in New Orleans are a result of 12th Night celebrations. One of the great scenes in Charles Dickens’s “Christmas Carol”, is a reference to “immense 12 cakes” and Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present visit a “children’s Twelfth Night party”. I believe that some how “Fruit cakes” are a part of the long Christmas celebration leading to Epiphany but I have to check that.
Anyway continued blessed Christmas.