Monday, January 5, 2009

Epiphaney and Beyond in Oxford

As I was driving down North Lamar Avenue today I noticed that many homes have already jettisoned their poor Christmas trees and had taken down their festive Christmas house trimmings. I even saw the lads at the fire station taking down their Christmas lights. A bit too soon I think and it is good to remember that Christmas lasts into January. It does not end on 26 December as the commercial concerns would have us believe.

A very enjoyable part of attending church, especially a traditional Catholic church, is that the Christmas season lasts well into January. All the wonderful aspects of Christmas are enjoyed for a longer time, the food and drink, gatherings and music, and the less pleasant commercial aspects which modern society assaults us with are lessened.

First we have Advent from 29 November to Christmas Day. The magic continues with ‘Christmastide’ which begins on 25 December and goes well into January. Then you have the Twelve Days of Christmas that run from the evening of 25 December to the morning of 6 January, with the evening of 5 January being the 12th Night, and a time of merriment and joy. The last feast day is on 11 January, with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. The traditional Christmas follows the ecclesiastical calendar of course and there are things profoundly comforting and wise in observing the natural flow of this season. The remembrance of the Incarnation follows a natural course when the traditional Christmas is kept; and this gives us hope and comfort in an often hostile world.

Barry R McCain


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