“But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”   Luke 2:19

My sister-in-law had a very sweet post this morning on the pleasures of this quiet week after Christmas.  In my family, ‘Christmas week’ has always been filled with almost as many sweet traditions and comforting rituals as the holiday itself…New Year’s is as much a last hurrah for the Christmas season as a celebration of the coming year.  I’ve always held these last few fleeting December days with such tender regard–my husband all but has to shield my eyes from discarded Christmas trees on the side of the road!–that I parcel out the precious hours like choice jewels.  And so I thought I’d peek in from a happy round of journaling and new books and frolicking kittens and tea by the fire with my dear ones to offer this little snippet I wrote a couple of years ago:

The twelve days of feasting and merriment that accompanied an old English Christmas hold a rather touching attraction for those of us who feel that it’s all rushed by too quickly.  Richard Swenson, commenting on our present-day haste in his book Margin, states, “Calendar congestion and time urgency have robbed us of the pleasure of anticipation.  Without warning, the activity is upon us.  We rush to meet it; then we rush to the next; and the next.  In the same way, we lack the luxury of reminiscing.  On we fly to the next activity.”   But does Christmas really have to be like this?  Do we have the courage to brace up against the torrent of the rest of the world that is trying to hurry us along towards winter ski trips, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, summer vacations?  Is it possible to continue to keep Christmas in the days following the 25th?  I believe that it is, and not only possible, but necessary to fully receive and cherish all of the gifts that this season is laden with.  “Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”  It would do us all a lot of good simply to keep and ponder that one small verse for a while.  What things will we remember this particular holiday for?  What are some ways that we can draw our loved ones around us and preserve the magic of the season for a time?  Let the Twelve Days of Christmas be a springboard for ideas, as you consider ways to savor, to reminisce, to truly keep this Christmas.