Three days till Christmas. Count them: Today, tomorrow and Christmas Eve. Ten to 1 odds says you still have stuff to do. I know I still have stuff to do, and I don’t even have family coming into town. But if you find yourself stuck in a jam, and you know that there is no way to get those last presents in the mail in time before Christmas, do what I do. Invoke the 12 days of Christmas rule. So, what’s the 12 days of Christmas rule, you ask.

Glad you did! It starts with Christmas Day. That’s day one. From there, there are eleven more days of Christmas that it is acceptable to exchange gifts, send cards, visit with friends and all around celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Messiah.  Think of the “12 days of Christmas” song. “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a partridge and a pear tree.” He then had 11 more days to give gifts that celebrated Christ coming into our lives. That’s because our Christmas actually is a 12 day sort of celebration lasting from Christmas day all the way to the day the Wise Men show up from Persia bearing their gifts.

As long as you can get it there before the wise men show up, you’re on time. You can even tell them your pastor said so. Everyone else who is sending presents and cards now is just over zealous. Think of them as the ones who show up to the party to help clean before it starts. You, yourself, are the fashionably late, but wholly acceptable addition to the party. You add character where there wasn’t before.

Plus, with everyone else sending presents to arrive exactly on or even before Christmas day, people have come to expect gifts just on Christmas day. You, yourself, are keeping the tradition of Advent alive by keeping friends and family alike in waiting. With eager expectation for that gift to come they will wait for the UPS man, just as we all have waited and continue to wait for the Messiah who is to come at an unknown time. Will it be day, or night? …and then up the gravel drive, he comes.

So not only are you are living out the fullness of all 12 days of Christmas but you are also keeping tradition of Advent alive! …and you just thought you were busy and behind these next three days…