Okay, it’s not really Three Kings Day until January 6th, but we celebrated today since this week is a little busy for us. Traditionally, Christians’ celebration of Christmas BEGAN on December 25th and continued for 12 DAYS ending with the Feast of the Three Kings, or the 12th day of Christmas (like in the song), on January 6th. Three kings day commemorates the arrival of the “wise men” bringing gifts to the infant Jesus.
It has always bothered me how abruptly the celebration of Christmas seems to end on December 26th. I read this idea of celebrating twelve days of Christmas several years ago and since it fit right in with my idea of making Christmas last as long as possible our family adopted this idea. We usually leave all of our Christmas decorations including the tree up through the twelfth night of Christmas. I admit that I have slacked off in some ways this year due to preparations for our upcoming trip to China. Most years we begin moving the wise men through the house to arrive at the nativity on the twelfth day of Christmas. The kids love searching for the wise men every morning. Most years we have also had a 12th Night Celebration inviting friends to sing carols one last time, listen to passages telling of the coming of Jesus, and watching the kids act out the story of Jesus’ birth. This year I have been better about continuing to read Christmas stories from our collection of Christmas books and spending time in the evening talking about Jesus’ birth and singing carols as a family. We celebrated Three Kings Day by going out for ice cream and singing Christmas carols in the car. I talked to the boys about how this one seemingly small event, the birth of a baby, changed the whole world. When you think about the significance of this, it makes sense to me that the celebration should begin on December 25th and continue indefinitely.