For a variety of reasons, I’m looking forward to the fresh beginnings of 2009, and hope it brings good things to all. In the world, this is the end of the “holiday” season which began with Thanksgiving (or before Hallowe’en, in some stores), but it’s still Christmas until January 6, Epiphany, as Christian History reminds us:

The “real” twelve days of Christmas are important not just as a way of thumbing our noses at secular ideas of the “Christmas season.” They are important because they give us a way of reflecting on what the Incarnation means in our lives. Christmas commemorates the most momentous event in human history—the entry of God into the world He made, in the form of a baby. . . . In Christ, our human nature was united to God, and when Christ enters our hearts, he brings us into that union.

. . . Epiphany commemorates the beginning of the proclamation of the gospel—Christ’s manifestation to the nations, as shown in three different events: the visit of the Magi, the baptism of Jesus, and the turning of water into wine.

My Christmas decorations remain lit until the 6th, reminding me that Christ’s incarnational gift of hope is part of this new year’s changes as well. “Twelve Days of Christmas” gifts in 2008-09? $21,080.10. A truly joyful Christmas and a happy new year? Priceless.