There is no need at all to make long discourses; it is enough to stretch out one's hand and say, “Lord, as you will, and as you know, have mercy.” And if the conflict grows fiercer say, “Lord help!” God knows very well what we need and He shows us His mercy.
Abba Macarius

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Holiday Songs after Epiphany

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Christians who favor classical forms of Christianity often wax eloquent (to say nothing of vociferous) about the twelve days of Christmas.[1] What is occasionally forgotten is that the seasonal cycle of Christ’s birth and revelation as the enfleshed Son of God the Father[2] concludes with a feast which honors the scriptural event of Christ’s presentation and his mother’s purification according to Judaic law forty days after Christmas on February 2.[3]

In some Western customs, pious Christians considered it bad luck for Christmas decorations to be up after Candlemas. This indicates that they perceived the Christmas season (as distinct from the twelve day feast itself) to continue until Candlemas. Christmas decor was acceptable and could remain in place up to (and perhaps including) this celebration; after Candlemas, the Christmas season definitely ended, and people boxed their decorations for another year.

Yesterday I dined in a nearby International House of Pancakes. Among the ordinary songs of the Muzak playlist, holiday tunes occasionally still played. None of them were Christmas carols, I noted, but it was still interesting to hear an establishment such as Muzak (or a surrogate music service) continuing to play holiday music over a week after New Year’s Day. Usually, secular marketers have boxed up and forgotten everything Christmas before the twelve days are even half-way over.

I grant that the holiday tunes selected were far from Christmas carols: they included Amy Grant’s cover of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and Wilson Philips’ “Hey Santa,” among others. However, I smiled as I mused that it perhaps could be a start towards extending the holiday season into January rather than into October.

Merry Christmas!


  1. Sometimes including, as I am obnoxious in highlighting, Eastern Christians for whom the feast of Christmas is actually only seven days.
  2. Which begins either with the Entry into the Temple of the Mother of God on Eastern calendars or with the dyad
    of Christ the King and the First Sunday of Advent on Western calendars.

  3. The name and emphasis of the feast varies by rite and time period. Since we’ve been using the colloquial English “Christmas” for the Birth in the Flesh of the Lord, we’ll use the colloquial English “Candlemas.”
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Filed under: — Basil @ 12:37 pm