In the modern world many tend to see the Christmas season over on December 26th. In fact, it is just beginning. One hears of the Twelve Days of Christmas which end on Epiphany but really Christmastide is forty days long and only comes to completion on Candlemas, February 2. Here is a 15th-century English carol to remind us.
1. The first day of Yule have we in mind,
How God was man born of our kind;
For he the bonds would unbind
Of all our sins and wickedness.
2. The second day we sing of Stephen,
Who stoned was and rose up even
To God whom he saw stand in heaven,
And crowned was for his prowess. [bravery]
3. The third day belongeth to Saint John,
Who was Christ’s darling, dearer none,
To whom he entrusted, when he should gone, [when he had to die]
His mother dear for her cleanness. [purity]
4. The fourth day of the children young,
Whom Herod put to death with wrong;
Of Christ they could not tell with tongue,
But with their blood bore him witness.
5. The fifth day belongeth to Saint Thomas,
Who, like a strong pillar of brass,
Held up the church, and slain he was,
Because he stood with righteousness.
6. The eighth day Jesu took his name,
Who saved mankind from sin and shame,
And circumcised was, for no blame,
But as example of meekness.
7. The twelfth day offered to him kings three,
Gold, myrrh, and incense, these gifts free,
For God, and man, and king was he,
Thus worshipped they his worthiness.
8. On the fortieth day came Mary mild,
Unto the temple with her child,
To show herself clean, who never was defiled,
And therewith endeth Christmas.