In truth, we Christians have been losing our traditions for centuries. Misplaced, misappropriated, misapplied””we have pulled the rich timbre from original intent, given ourselves over to cheap plastic toys and premade wassail. We have hurried the season because to us, Christmas is a day and not a season at all.
For our Orthodox brothers and sisters, though, the feasts during the days after Christmas not only mark time but also insert intentional delay in a world gone mad for Christmas kitsch. History aside, we have for centuries chosen to celebrate his coming on December 25. It has become a placeholder of a day when some of us remember that Jesus is the reason for the season. But then we go to bed, full of Christmas spirit, and wake up to traffic and spilled lattes and kids who want to spend their gift cards today. Where are the good feelings now?
For the early church, the purpose for 12 days of feasting following Christmas Day was to bring them to the edge of Epiphany. If, for various reasons, we do not entertain the liturgy of the days, can we at least entertain the purposes?