This evening will be the Twelfth Night, and we move into the last day of Christmas tomorrow. For most of us, that is the day we call Epiphany. The celebration of Epiphany is the celebration of the arrival and adoration of the magi. In some traditions Epiphany is celebrated by the exchange of gifts, and Twelfth Night, as the eve of Epiphany, takes on a similar significance to what many of us experience on Christmas Eve.
In other places this marks the time to take down all the Christmas trimmings, though I find myself a bit like the guy in the Verizon commercial who just wants an excuse for the decorations to stay a little longer. Christmas nostalgia? The Christmas ideal that didn't quite show up - that I still long for? Christmas is always a-here-and-not-yet experience. The Christ has come but we are not yet at a place where 'thy kingdom has fully come because thy will is not fully done here on earth as it is done in heaven'. Living in the between times as it were.
Redeeming the meantime from insignificance; that is the task now, as my good friend reminds me so very often.
Taken from W. H. Auden's poem For the Time Being, subtitled "A Christmas Oratorio"
Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree,
Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes –…
There are enough
, left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week –
Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted — quite unsuccessfully –
To love all of our relatives, and in general
Grossly overestimated our powers. Once again
As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
To those who have
The Child, however dimly, however incredulously,
The Time Being is, in a sense, the most trying time of all……
In the meantime
There are bills to be paid, machines to keep in repair,
Irregular verbs to learn, the Time Being to redeem