Friday, November 23, 2007

One way that things used to be better



Tom McMahon names one. Now? Xmas/Christmukkah, or ‘Advent? What’s that?

For Byzantine Rite readers using the Gregorian calendar in church it began on the 15th November, the day after St Philip’s Day, a six-week Advent like the Ambrosian/Milanese Rite (here is its traditional order of Mass). For the Russians Филиповка starts 13 days after that. For many readers it will start with I Vespers one week from tomorrow.

Of course the secular world doesn’t care about Easter because presents aren’t involved. In these parts secular Christmas began just before yesterday (American Thanksgiving) and stops on the 2nd January.

I think I’ll rent The Armadillo That Saved Festivus this ‘holiday season’ (feh — observant Jews aren’t offended by Christian displays and it’s not about going to Spain, Greece or on a cruise so in true YF fashion it’s Advent and Christmas and to all a good night).

No, in spite of its failings I love the season, the Roman and Germanic pagan ‘let’s cheer ourselves up in the dead of winter’ party that was perfectly adaptable to the faith (the light shineth in darkness... And the Word was made flesh). It’s when even hard-shell Baptists forget their Mariaphobia and some of their iconophobia and put up statues of Jesus and Mary.

That said a biretta tip to the purists who hold out on throwing the Christmas gear up until Christmas week (for example not decorating the tree until Christmas Eve... after Vespers/Evening Prayer?) and keep it out through Epiphany/Theophany.

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