Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmastide Blessings to You All!

  Are you keeping the Twelve Days of Christmas?  This can be a wonderful antidote to the enormous "crash" that comes right after the cultural celebration of Christmas.  For Christians, the twelve days are the bridge between two great feasts of the Church - the Nativity and the Revelation of the Christ (Theophany) at Epiphany.

Below is a link to the website of Holy Trinity German Catholic Church which has this nice set of pages on the customs of Christmas and Epiphany.  I especially thought the discussion of the Christmas Tree was interesting.  It, according to some sources, is not just a pagan practice but also represents the Paradise Tree found in the Garden of Eden and, I suppose, in the garden of the Heavenly Jerusalem.  Here are the comments...

The Christmas tree was traditionally put up only on Christmas Eve and taken down on Twelfth Night, the Vigil of the Epiphany. The reason for this is that contrary to popular belief, the Christmas tree was not a Christian "baptism" of pagan yule traditions, but an entirely Christian symbol. In the Eastern churches December 24 was the Feast of Adam and Eve, our first parents. Though this feast has never been  observed in the Latin calendar, church officials nevertheless allowed Roman Catholics to appropriate this Oriental custom. In the Middle Ages special mystery plays were held on this day which featured a Paradise Tree, a tree representing both the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil as well as the Tree of Life from the Garden of Eden. Thus the tree was decorated with apples (for the forbidden fruit) and sweets (for the Tree of Life). When the mystery plays were suppressed during the fifteenth century, the faithful moved the Paradise trees from the stage into their homes. The apples were later substituted for other round objects (such as shiny red balls), and lights and the Star of Bethlehem were added, but the symbolism remained essentially the same. Thus, our modern Christmas tree is actually the medieval Paradise tree, a reminder of the reason why God deemed it important to become man in the first place and a foretaste of the sweet Tree from which our Lord's birth would once again enable us to taste. The lights of the Christmas tree also form a glowing Jesse tree, with each light representing one of Christ's ancestors and the Star representing our Lord Himself.

Here is the link to the website   Holy Trinity German Catholic Church

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012

You and Yours are Most Warmly Invited
to a Commemoration of 
The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ
6:30 pm December 24, 2012
Village Chapel of Ease
St. James Santee Parish Church
McClellanville, So. Carolina
Holy Communion, Sermon, Christmas Carols,
Organ and Classical Guitar