We made it. It’s December 25, Christmas Day. For many of us, Christmas Day is the culmination of weeks of thinking and preparing and celebrating. Most of us feel the weight and pressure of all this merrymaking, even in the best of personal situations and scenarios. And for those of us with less-than ideal personal situations and scenarios, the merrymaking can be more like crazymaking.

Adding to this emotional cocktail is all the societal unrest. We cannot escape the ache of the world just because we deck the halls. Troubles and injustices that cannot be made lovely with the addition of ribbons and bows. This mess is decidedly 2018, we think.

We can, despite all that’s wrong in the world, look to what’s true and good and beautiful in God’s creation.

But the mess didn’t start here and now. It began long ago, when there were just two people on the face of the earth. Their choice to shun God’s way is the one made over and over again, multiplying the impact of the mess as more people followed in their footsteps. The promise of rescue from all this unrest and merrymaking and injustice came in another era that was just as messy as ours. It’s really just same song, different verse.

It’s this rescue we celebrate each Christmas. Because the Messiah has come, we can celebrate, even in the middle of this messy era, even in the middle of our messy lives. Although today may come as a relief for you—maybe Christmas celebrations have been hard for you to sit in this year—in some ways, today serves as a pressure release to all our frantic celebrating. We made it to December 25; it’s all downhill from here.

Christmas Day actually marks the first day of another celebration called Christmastide or Twelvetide. It lasts 12 days, marking the time between the birth of Christ and arrival of the Magi.

If you are one who was happy just to make it to today, you may feel less than excited about the idea of extending the celebrations another 12 days. But Christmastide can serve a different purpose as we remember the Messiah’s birth. With our modern celebrations winding down, there is now room to reflect on God’s intervention in our low estate. We can, despite all that’s wrong in the world, look to what’s true and good and beautiful in God’s creation.

Because it can be tough to remember such things, Christ and Pop Culture writers are here to help. Each day of Twelvetide, we will point to cultural goodness that gives hope in the midst of all the mess. It’s our version of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” song, filled with things our writers have found to be life-giving. Some entries are 2018 artifacts, some are from years past. All of them point us to hope.

Happy Christmastide to you and yours from all of us at Christ and Pop Culture!