December 31, 2018 (Originally published Dec 2015)
Today we face January 1.
Tomorrow is the beginning of the civil New Year.
Surely Christmas is now in the distant past, as time races ahead. (Maybe some readers even entertain thoughts of next Christmas already.)
Typically New Year’s celebrations tend toward the pagan and hedonistic in our culture. Over the centuries the church has celebrated a number of feast (festival) days during the 12 Days of Christmas. Have we ceded celebration to the non-believers? God seems to matter little as we shove Christmas behind us and get on with the real fun.
On a side note, can anyone please tell me what a dropping ball has to do with anything other than setting watches? I have not found it significant in my considerations of the year just past and anticipating the year ahead. #nonsequiter
Personal extended celebration of Christmastide this year is enriching to me. My mind has done more reflecting and giving thanks. The glow continues. My mindset is subtly different.
Our celebrations can be richer when not so truncated, and by paying scant attention to the superficial, misdirected hype that commerce inflicts on us every year.
Did you know that January 1 was not always considered the beginning of a new year? In many countries of Europe, the year began on March 25th, the Feast of the Annunciation. The change to January 1st was gradual as the Gregorian calendar came into more common use in the mid-1700’s.
Today, the Seventh Day of Christmas, is called the Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas by the liturgical church. If you want to know more about non-musical octaves, go here!
In some quarters of the Church, the Seventh Day of Christmas is called the Feast of St. Sylvester. The seventh day of Christmas (New Year’s Eve) celebrates Pope Sylvester I. In some eastern European countries New Year’s Eve is still known as Silvester. Sylvester was alive during the days of Constantine and the huge changes in the Church he initiated.
I did not know about this feast, and I’m not necessarily going to make it a feature of my future worship of the Lord during Christmastide. Here’s something else: there’s even a punch for the day. It’s called Silvesterpunsch. I do like the idea of several feasts and celebrations during the 12 Days of Christmas!
Why cut the joy off so abruptly?
Whatever you do today and tomorrow, have your heart turned toward heaven. At the First Christmas 2000 years ago, the Messiah was just a week old. Do you think there was ongoing joy?
Surely there was.
This is the seventh in a series of 12 consecutive articles on the 12 Days of Christmas. Here are links to the rest of the series:
The 12 Days Have Begun!: First Day of Christmas
What Did You Get for Christmas?: Second Day of Christmas
Most People Missed the Good News: Third Day of Christmas
An Event, But So Much More: Fourth Day of Christmas
Are You Still Playing Carols?: Fifth Day of Christmas
Slow It Down: Sixth Day of Christmas
Let It Snow (or not): Eighth Day of Christmas
Whatever Happened to Christmas?: Ninth Day of Christmas
We Long for Transcendence, but Look in the Wrong Places: Tenth Day of Christmas
So Done with the Holiday: Eleventh Day of Christmas
Those Who Are Wise Still Seek Him: Twelve Day of Christmas