January 1, 2019 (First published Jan 2016)
It’s the Eighth Day of Christmas.
How is your celebration going? Are you mindful of the Messiah?
Today the liturgical Church observes the solemnity of Mary, Jesus’ mother. I’m sure she was solemn in those days, considering all she had seen and heard by the time the Messiah was eight days old. Speaking of eight days, some Christians commemorate the circumcision of the Baby Boy. I know, some of you think that’s a touch weird. But it’s important theologically. And at least three films feature that religious event in His life.
Now, another subject that’s often on my mind:
Have you ever wondered how snow became associated with Christmas? I have. Jesus likely was born in a season other than winter. He was born in a land that sees few flakes.
One reason I’ve questioned this for years is the fact that everyone who lives south of the equator has Christmas in summer. But here’s a surprise (to me at least): 88% of the world’s population lives in the Northern Hemisphere! So maybe my theory is off?
However, see this:
You see by this chart most people live in temperate zones. (Now why would that be?) According to the article from which these charts come, on average everyone lives within 24 degrees of the equator. Take a look at where that is:
So why the snow fascination?
It turns out the most likely source for our fixation on snowy Yuletides is Victorian culture, with the added impetus of Hollywood imagination. The “Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens features snow in some scenes, and Dicken’s “Pickwick Papers” (I’ve read twice – wonderful descriptive language and comic situations throughout) paints snowy pictures for us as the backdrop of the Christmas Holy-Day. Then, the “White Christmas” song and movie cemented the visual for North Americans, at least.
I’ve often puzzled over this question. Without wanting to rudely spoil anyone’s sentimental feelings about the First Day of Christmas, I have to say that, except for cultural sentimentality, our own tendencies to nostalgia, and artistic expression, Christmas and snow have little to do with each other.
We tend to think that we haven’t had a “real Christmas” if there’s no snow.
I hope we don’t expect more than half the world’s population to believe their Days of Christmas are second class because they don’t live in the right place! Is it really true they can’t experience the full joy of the season?
I’m guessing these soft and evocative visuals relate to what you picture for White Christmas:
Not so much these unfiltered, more grim windows into the realm of the elusive white stuff:
The first set of photos is beautiful, appealing, warming (ironically in spite of the cold of their settings), and perfectly fine to enjoy. They just don’t have anything to do with the Incarnation!
Well, that’s enough for this Eighth Day of Christmas. Let me know if you have been enjoying this extended celebration with me.
Have a merry and joyful Christmastide.
This is the eighth 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
Silvesterpunsch: Seventh 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