Introducing the Christmas SEASON to Evangelicals (and Epiphany)

Although most people tend to see Christmas as a day (December 25), actually Christmas is a season on the Church calendar.  It lasts from December 25 through January 5: Twelve days – and yes that’s where the song comes from, though I’ve never understood why anyone would want so many birds – 23 by my count!  I’ve said in another place, our culture conditions us to celebrate Christmas from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day, and then on December 26 crash in relief that it’s all over.  This is all backwards.  Advent, which precedes Christmas, is a season of self-examination and spiritual preparation so that we may fully enjoy Christmas when it arrives – and enjoy it for twelve days, no less.  What if God’s people would do things that way?

January 6 marks Epiphany, a Greek word meaning “manifestation,” in reference to the manifestation (revealing) of the Christchild to the nations, marked by the Scripture passage of the “Visit of the Magi” (Matthew 2).  Epiphany marks the end of the Christmas Season.

These traditions go back, not to the New Testament Church, but to a few centuries afterwards.  Those who scoff at them as manmade traditions without Scriptural warrant may just as well scoff at celebrating Christmas and Easter since these also are manmade traditions with no Scriptural basis (and many early Baptists did not observe either day).  But these are ancient traditions, nonetheless, the purpose of which is to provide some regularity to Christian devotional practice.  Of course, it is not required.  But I have found that the Church calendar does provide a time-tested and proven way to guide one’s thoughts, prayers, and meditations.

Merry Christmas & Happy Epiphany!

 

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

Leave a Reply