Christmas for Christians does not end on Christmas Day. For many Christian churches and sects, Christmas is not over because they are still celebrating “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” which is not just a song.

The first day of Christmas is the evening of Christmas Day. The twelfth day of Christmas is Jan. 6, the morning of Epiphany. This 12 day period is also called “Christmastide.”

The associated evenings of the twelve days begin on the evening before the specified day — similar to the Jewish holiday celebrations. Thus, the first night of Christmas is December 25–26, and Twelfth Night is January 5–6. This period is also known as Christmastide.

The good news is that according to the twelve days, the Christmas season is not over! Not that we need more presents, but we can continue to celebrate the season and extending “good will toward men.”

Through the centuries, Christian churches and sects have fashioned their own way of celebrating these days or have favored certain parts of the original traditions and time frame.

Rev. Gene Gordon of the Callisburg United Methodist Church said, “The season of Advent goes up to Christmas Day and the Christmas season extends from Dec. 25 through Jan. 6. Traditionally, Jan. 6 is the day the wise men came and Jesus manifested himself to them and the world.”

The Methodist liturgical calendar is very close to the Anglican and Catholic Christian celebrations according to Wikipedia.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church Pastoral Minister, Sister Mary Helen Furhmann, SSMN said, “We celebrate Christmas until the baptism of Jesus. The season of Christmas is until Jan. 11.”

The Catholic’s Missal — a book which contains the prayers said by the priest at the altar as well as all that is officially read or sung in connection with the offering of the holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the church year, according to the “Catholic Encyclopedia” — reads “Christmas is more than a day. It is a season, and the holy season begins at sundown on Christmas Eve. The first day of Christmas — the “solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord” — is kept with special observance at sunset, midnight, dawn and noonday. That’s why there are four different Masses for the four turning-points of the day.”

Prior to the Christmas at the Vigil Mass (Christmas Eve) is the Children’s Pageant, in which the events leading up to the birth of Jesus and the nativity are portrayed by the children of the church. The Mass includes the genealogy of Jesus Christ, how his birth came about and the birth of the baby Jesus.

During the Mass at Midnight, there is a reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to Titus (Titus 2:11-14), “Beloved: The grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good.”

During Mass at Dawn there is a reading from Luke 2:15-20 in which the shepherds go to Bethlehem and find Mary and Joseph, and the baby in the manger.

At Mass during the Day, there is a gospel acclamation “A holy day has dawned upon us. Come, you nations, and adore the Lord. For today a great light has come upon the earth.”

During the sunset Mass, St. Mary’s Catholic Church Pastor, Father Jim Pemberton, read from the “Book of Gospels.” Tisha Green served as the Lector.

At the end of the Mass, Pastor Pemberton said “this is my first Christmas with you. This is a dynamic community.”

St. Mary’s Catholic Church will celebrate The Epiphany of the Lord (the coming of the Magi) on Jan. 4 and The Baptism of the Lord on Jan. 11.

The Baptists celebrate the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ to a greater extent than the epiphany and his baptism.

The First Baptist Church Pastor Mark Denison noted that, “Christmas for Baptists represents the birth of Christ, the son of God, as the beginning of the process which includes his birth, sinless life, his death on the cross and his glorious resurrection.

“We as Baptists recognize the Epiphany and baptism, but we emphasize his birth, life, death and resurrection.

Denison said, “Religion is man’s attempt to reach God and Christianity is God’s attempt to reach man.

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