March 18 11:56 AM
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Share Christmas joy beyond December 25

To the Editor:

In response to David Naeyaert's comments in his letter to the editor 'Why throw Christmas in the closet so soon?' in last week's paper, I agree that Christmas starts way too soon these days and ends all too quickly.

When I was a child, Santa never came to town until Thanksgiving Day in the J. L. Hudson parade. And he was out of Hudson's downtown in plenty of time to get back to the North Pole and begin his Christmas Eve trip around the world delivering gifts to all good little boys and girls.

My childhood tradition was to take down the Christmas tree on New Year's Day, probably because we had company coming for a festive dinner to celebrate the new year and people had to have a place to sit—not to mention all the needles falling like crazy by then and getting stuck in the carpet. And then it was back to work for dad and back to school for me and my sisters.

But as Christians here in the United States, we have easily forgotten the Christmas season or Christmastide, which begins the evening of December 25 and ends the evening of January 5, on the eve of Epiphany, January 6. After Christmas sales and New Year's Eve parties have all but eliminated focus on the Christmas season and Twelfth Night. Shakespeare even used the night of January 5 as a setting for one of his famous plays, 'Twelfth Night.'

We also hear little about Epiphany, which is the day we acknowledge the arrival of the magi in Bethlehem, searching for the baby Jesus. Even the colors of the Christmas season, which are gold and white, are not prominent.

The popular song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" refers to Christmastide, although some people think it refers to the 12 days before Christmas.

We live in a secular world and the "taking down of Christmas" starting on December 26 is probably here to stay. Retail stores have clearance sales on Christmas merchandise before Christmas even gets here. This practice can be a downer for many people.

And that is why Christmas must remain in our hearts. We can learn to share the joy that the season brings well beyond December 25. I'm with you David.

Kathy O'Dell, Almont Township
January 14, 2009

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