How Long is the Christmas Season?
By Fr. Daniel Pinell
All of us know that Christmas is on December the 25th, but, did you know that’s just the beginning of the Christmas season? How long is the Christmas season? Also, what are we celebrating during the Christmas season?
The Christmas season begins on Christmas Day and lasts until January 5th. This period is what is called the “12 days of Christmas”. The season includes Christmas Day, the First Sunday after Christmas Day, and the Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Christmas is one of the most important calendar years of the Church, second only to Easter. In this season we are celebrating the feast of the incarnation, the fact that God became man in Jesus Christ.
We are not simply celebrating a birthday, but the birth of our Savior. The fact that God became flesh, moreover, is an essential part of salvation history. St. Irenaeus, 2nd century Bishop of Lyon, wrote that God had “become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself.” Clement of Alexandria said likewise in the 2nd century, “Yea, I say, the Word of God became a man so that you might learn from a man how to become a god.”
These quotes may sound scandalous to our monotheistic ears, but what the Church Fathers are describing in this somewhat poetic language is the role the incarnation has in our salvation. The Church Fathers claim the incarnation makes theosis, or union with God, possible. Through the Holy Spirit, we can participate in the Divine life of God, and we can be transformed by His divine grace, so we grow more and more Christlike in our walk with Christ.
During this season of Christmas, I pray that all of us may accept this calling to grow deeper into intimacy with God, giving thanks to God for the incarnation that makes our salvation possible.