I like the fact that in the church calendar Christmas is a season lasting twelve days and not just a single day of turkey and mince pies, followed by the January sales..
You need more than a day to celebrate such momentous events and you want time to take in the many different aspects of the Christmas story - Simeon's contribution, for example, which was the theme for today's service, the first Sunday after Christmas.
When Mary and Joseph took their infant son to the temple, Simeon - who had been promised by the Lord that he would see the Messiah before he died - took the child in his arms and said 'Lord, now let your servant depart in peace. With my own eyes I have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of people.'
'I'm ready to die' was the thrust of Simeon's remarks, not in some morbid sense of having had enough of life and wanting to depart, but in the far more positive sense that he could now die a fulfilled man, because he had seen with his own eyes what he had longed to see - and what the Spirit of God had promised he would see.
And what Simeon saw was, not just a baby, but God's salvation - in the flesh.
I concluded the sermon by referring to Simeon's allusion to the future suffering of Christ - when he spoke to Mary of the sword that would pierce her soul.
Artists, too, have been aware of the shadow of the cross over the nativity story.
In Rembrandt's Adoration of the Shepherds (above), which I mentioned in the sermon, the cross shape formed by the rafters of the stable provides a hint of the suffering of Christ, and the means by which he will save the world.