So Advent is almost over, but as most of you know the Christmas season really begins on December 25, as we celebrate the Feast of the Nativity. In the pre-commercialized past, traditional celebrations of Christmas really kicked in as everyone celebrated the twelve days of Christmas from Christmas Day to Epiphany on January 6. That's what the song refers to, obviously. That's also what Shakespeare is talking about in his play, Twelfth Night; in his time Twelfth Night, or Epiphany, was a time of revelry, when everything was topsy-turvy -- like the capers and shenanigans of the play.
In my crowd, we try pretty hard to stick to these old ways. The husband and I host a swingin' party on December 26 every year -- traditionally called Boxing Day in England (for reasons that are explained various ways by various sources). A couple of days later we will all gather at Mr. and Mrs. K.'s home to sing carols and eat fabulous cookies and drink fabulous wine. We will also play The Name Game, which I have also played in its guise as The Colander Game. Either way, I will do well in this game if I am seated next to The Mother. Not that I am competitive, or planning my strategy already . . . .
On New Year's Eve we go to The Mother and her husband (so is he The Father? I don't think so, but I'm not sure why . . . ) for a black tie swanky soiree. Yes -- I said "black tie," and get this: it's so swanky, the invitation says "white tie optional." Boom.
And finally, on January 3, my whole extended clan of beloveds will meet at my sister's house for our family Christmas celebration, along with a rollicking game of "Dirty Santa." The primo gift last year was an ear wax remover, but I've got a few surprises up my sleeve this year; I think I can top that. This will be our last loving look at the Soldier, who will deploy to Korea on January 7. A brand new graduate of West Point and the field artillery school, he will take all, all the prayers with him when he goes -- please add yours to the pile!
Again with the looking ahead, the Advent book for today is actually a great story to read on December 26 -- the Feast of Saint Stephen. If you know the carol you know that the good king and his servant boy went out into the cold winter night on the Feast of St. Stephen, "when the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even." This little book tells the story of the carol. It's a sweet one!