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Three Magi - Vatican 2021 Stamp

Christmas season is now over. Tradition tells us the three wise men visited the Holy Family on the 12th day of Christmas. Today, by the 12th day, the all-Christmas stations are carol-less, the stores' decorations are past even the half-price sales, discarded trees fill the sidewalks awaiting trash pick-up...In short, one questions the mental acuity of the "wise" men. By Day 12, their exploit is virtually forgotten. The secular world has again rubbed Christ out of Christmas. Except, as I've noted before, in the Churches, where the season remains alive until the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord--sort of.

Now the Catholic Church has survived 2,000 years without my advice, though it has managed to stumble through the Eastern Orthodox schism, the Protestant schism, the pedophilia here goes with some unsolicited advice.

My instincts tell me there are a lot of people looking to hold on to that Christmas spirit a tad longer. My personal observation is that the Church has done a poor job of selling and in fact sponsoring any on-going Christmas festivities. Moreover, there is a definite lack of young people on any given Sunday/holyday. So here is a modest suggestion: Make the most of the 12 days. A couple of specifics:

  • Keep the Church doors open late so people can come and enjoy the elaborate nativity scenes and the lights.

  • Have different events celebrating the season each night, such as an organ concert of Christmas music.

  • A night of Christmas caroling inside the God's House (have you noticed how robust the singing is during midnight services?

  • Parishes must have a number of musically inclined congregants--invite them to entertain on various nights.

  • Similarly, invite congregants with artistic skill to display a Christmas-themed art show for a night, or a holiday-inspired craft fair.

  • Everyone has some holiday baking tradition (they're always stuffing themselves on all the Hallmark holiday movies), so why not one night dedicated to a Christmas dessert potluck?

  • Young people returning home for the holidays from college or grad school have few places to gather. I'm not talking tinder, shopping malls and bars. Why not set aside dedicated space, such as an adjoining gym or meeting hall, where each evening young people can gather--and if they decide to wander over to the Church to enjoy the lights and sounds of the continuing season, all the better.

  • Finally, return to an old tradition where the 12th or Last Night meant a major celebration...such as a candlelight vigil Mass. No need to worry about flammable candles: everyone today has phones that serve the purpose. Have you been to a concert lately?

Wouldn't it be nice if just once we beat back the secular world and restored the 12 Days of Christmas as an actual tradition? The Wise Men would be pleased.


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