THE CHRISTIAN YEAR – CHRISTMAS

For many people, the Christmas Season begins in earnest at the beginning of December, and ends on Christmas Day.  In the church, however, the Christmas season doesn’t begin until Christmas Day.  Christmas is the shortest of the 6 seasons of the Christian Year — just 12 days in length, December 25 to January 5.  Depending on how the calendar works out, it has either 1 or 2 Sundays.

     During the season of Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, which fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies about the coming of the Messiah.  We also celebrate the fact that, in Jesus, God actually entered the world, and lived for a time among human beings as a human being.  Most of our cultural Christmas celebrations are over by Christmas Day, and perhaps this gives us space to celebrate the spiritual elements of Christmas during the “twelve days of Christmas”.

     Many Eastern Orthodox churches follow the old Julian calendar, which is 13 days “behind” the more accurate Gregorian calendar that we use today.  In the Julian calendar, December 25 falls on the same day as January 7 in the Gregorian calendar.  This is why some churches celebrate Christmas on January 7.

     The symbolic color for Christmas is white, signifying joy and celebration.