Embracing Christmastide

Christmastime is Now
Christmastime is Now

I’m sitting here listening to CASTING CROWNS sing “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” I have always loved this particular carol, based on the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, for it is poignant and to the bone.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

Casting Crowns Christmas

I listen to the sweet and hear the broken, and I wonder why so many end this season of Christmas so soon. Do they not understand that all of the preparations, the pressure and the process, between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, is in the season of Advent, in anticipation of His birth, and it is all PRE-Christmastime?

For Christmastide is here. It is Now. Christmastide will not end until the Feast of the Epiphany. Cards and music and gifts and greetings of “Merry Christmas!,” “Peace on Earth!,” and “Goodwill Towards Men!” are for this very moment. This time of quiet settlement — for the Prince of Peace is now among us — Joy to the World!

The official Season of Christmas does not end until Candlemass, the Feasts of the Presentation of the Christ Child in the Temple and The Purification of the Blessed Mary, on February 2nd.

Feasts of Our Lord's Presentation in the Temple /The Purification of Mary, a.k.a. Candlemass
Feasts of Our Lord’s Presentation in the Temple /The Purification of Mary, a.k.a. Candlemass

Forty days of Christmas and the world, in its old habit, abruptly ends it before it’s actually begun.

Three Wise Men 1

It is a few days past His birth and the Wise Men are still following the star. They are still seeking Him. They are still on their Christmastime journey to give homage to the King.

Shouldn’t we be doing the same?

Church bells

Listen for the bells, for God is With Us. His season has just begun.

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