Did you know?
The word ‘Christes Maesse’ surfaced in a Saxon book in 1038. But the roots of this festival stretch back much earlier. In late antiquity Christmas was not a time of revelry and fun, but instead a time for a special mass, quiet prayer and reflection. Until the fourth century, the church hadn’t even fixed a date for Christmas. Eventually, Pope Julius I chose December 25th. It seems likely this was an attempt to christianize a pagan holiday that fell on that date.
The medieval holiday of Christmas is an amalgamation of Christian and pagan, old and new. In the pagan festival of Yule, druids blessed and burned a log and kept it burning for twelve days as part of the winter solstice. The church has its own version of this — Candlemas, or the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin held on 2nd February. Medieval parishioners came to church with a penny and a candle to be blessed. Other candles were taken away to comfort the sick and dying or to give hope during thunderstorms. The Yule log gave the pagans a symbolic light to guide them through the harsh winter, while the Candlemas candle gave Christians solace in times of cold and hunger. The joining of these two traditions meant ordinary people could celebrate the birth of Christ and their own salvation, as well as enjoy themselves with the feasting and fun associated with pagan tradition.
And so I wish you all the blessings of Yuletide and thank everyone for supporting me on a social media level and a personal one.
I hope your 2012 intentions lay the path for whatever you wish for yourself.