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08:44 am: Decorations and the Christmas Season
It's a while since I posted a message by email so if something goes
wrong, I'll post it properly later.
More and more, people are announcing that they have taken down their
Christmas decorations. Why? Now, I am the first to admit that there is
no Biblical justification for having them in the first place, and the
early church didn't have them, possibly also in part for the same
reasons as Iraqi Christians today choose not to.
But the timing is wrong. Christmas isn't over till after the Festival
of the Epiphany, Twelfth Night, the visit of the Wise Guys, which we
celebrate on January 6th.
Christmas isn't over after 25th - that's when it begins. Up to that
point, it's Advent, a time of penitence and reflection as we look
forward to remembering Christ's first coming as a baby and also look
forward to his second coming in glory as King. The season changes at
Christmas, as does the mood, from one of expectation to one of
That is why we should not stop our celebration before Epiphany. It
also suggests that maybe we shouldn't be too hasty to put the
decorations up early either. We don't put our decorations up more than
a couple of days before Christmas, but that is for practical reasons,
rather than theological ones.


[User Picture]
Date:January 4th, 2011 10:55 pm (UTC)
Oh hey, you are preaching to the converted. I believe Christmas decorations should go up on Christmas Eve and come down on the 6th. I am a traditionalist through and through on that score. I grew up with that and generally still try and keep to it. As a child the excitement was immense and the whole family, five children, 2 adults did all the decorations together and it was wonderful. Of course my poor parents must have been utterly exhausted as they then had to do the whole preparation for Santa and his reindeer but they were immmense too.

At work our Christmas tree is still up in the entrance hall, a huge, beautiful thing and only today I was remarking how pleased I was that it was still up there.
[User Picture]
Date:January 5th, 2011 04:53 am (UTC)
Happy new year. We didn't even think about Christmas until about a week beforehand, and that proved to be a good time for us to get the tree decorated (we usually do that during early Advent, to build anticipation!).

Sadly, the Catholic Church, worried as usual perhaps at losses of numbers at Mass outside of Sunday, has moved Epiphany to the first Sunday after New Year. Which of course this year was the very next day. I haven't taken our tree down though ;-)

And scrabbling for a nativity for our Prizegiving (as one of my students smashed the whole thing unpacking it) was really difficult. Lots of decorations in plenty of stores, few nativity sets.
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