Every day, from December 25 to January 6, has traditionally been a part of the Yuletide celebration. Dedicated to mercy and compassion--in light of the incarnation of Heaven’s own mercy and compassion--each of those twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany has always been for Christians a season devoted to selfless giving and tender charity. In many Christian communities through the ages, gift giving is not concentrated on a single day, but rather, as in the famous folk song, spread out through the entire season.
And speaking of that famous folk song, all of the gifts mentioned in the "Twelve Days of Christmas" actually represent some aspect of the blessing of Christ’s appearing and are intended as reminders of our yokefellow responsibilities, one to another. Indeed, most of the images are Medieval adaptations of the rich Old Testament symbols of covenantal succession, joyous servanthood, and prophetic promise. They portray the abundant life, the riches of the godly inheritance, the ultimate promise of heaven, the incarnational character of faith, the gracious nature of even temporal hope, and the essential covenantal nature of life lived in community and accountability.