“O Rising Dawn, splendor of eternal Light and Sun of Justice:
come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.”
~ O Antiphons
Yesterday evening at 11:49 pm EST, we observed the Winter Solstice, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, and celebrated by our pagan brothers and sisters. I do not use the term pejoratively; they are the peoples who are reverently close to the earth.
Actually the date of Christmas was taken from the winter solstice because it marks, in the northern hemisphere, the beginning of the ascendency of the sun. It connotes the phrase from John 3:22-30 in which John the Baptist says the “He must increase, I must decrease.” And the Baptist’s feast, likewise is near the summer solstice on June 24th. Thus, the church did not hesitate to borrow from the existing pagan customs. Christmas trees, for example, came from Germany and the wreathe symbolized eternity. Again, these were pagan customs.
Did you know that in the middle ages they lit real candles on their Christmas trees? How ’bout that?
Some Christians today misunderstand our “cross-enculturation” of things that once had a pagan origin and sometimes berate those of us who celebrate Christmas.
Here’s my prayer for today . . . .
O John, In your humility,
you knew there was One to come ~
that you were only to prepare the way for Him.
Help me ~ help us to prepare my heart ~ our hearts for Him this Christmas.
Help us to prepare a way for Him in our world today.
COME LORD JESUS!
Now before you go, here’s a terrific music video of Tiny Tim’s “God bless us, everyone” from Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, composed and sung by Andrea Bocelli. Click here. Be sure to enter full screen and turn up your speakers.
And here are today’s Mass readings. if you’d like to reflect on them. Click here.