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Advent Day 18 ~ O Rising Dawn! ~ and the winter solstice

Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

“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

The Winter Solstice, will happen today at 11:28 am, EST, the shortest 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 “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 as well as evergreen wreathes that symbolized eternity.  Again, these were pagan customs.

And 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 us to prepare our hearts for Him this Christmas.

Help us to prepare a way for Him in our world today.


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.

With Love,

Bob Traupman,

contemplative writer

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