Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holly and the Ivy

Throughout the Celtic lands of Brittany, Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, holly and ivy were symbols of victory won. Holly, representing masculine triumph, and ivy, representing feminine triumph, were often woven together as a sign that men and women need one another. Homes were decorated during Advent with both—often woven together—as a picture of the healthy family under God’s gracious providential hand.

(hat-tip to George Grant)

Sleigh Rides

Mimicking the supposed pattern of pastoral care practiced by Nicholas of Myra, the sleigh ride—particularly on Christmas Eve—gradually was woven into the joyous celebration of Christmas. Beginning in Scandanavia, spreading to Germany, England, Scotland, and finally New England, the sounds of the jingling bells, the tramping of horses through the snow, and the brisk wind through the trees became essential elements in provoking the Yuletide Spirit.

(hat-tip to George Grant)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Never fear!

I am in the middle of writing several posts in my new series. Unfortunately, my laptop is in the repair shop, so I have extremely limited internet access. Once I get it back, expect a flurry of posts (hopefully).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What have I gotten myself into?

I am hesitantly going to start a series of posts. Hesitantly, because I've never done something like this before, and I don't know if I'll be able to stick to it. Really, my life isn't busy enough. I ought to be able to make time for this, right? We'll see....

So here's the theme; the life of Christ. I'm going to start with history leading up to Christ's birth, till he is finally born on Christmas day, then follow his life till his death on Easter. Scripture, quotes, and exegesis.

This first post is kind of a cheat actually. I didn't write this next part. It came from George Grant's blog. But I thought it was appropriate.

"The holiday season—what we generically just call Christmastime—is actually a long sequence of holy days, festal revelries, and liturgical rites stretching from the end of November through the beginning of January that are collectively known as Yuletide.

Beginning with Advent, a time of preparation and repentance, proceeding to Christmas, a time of celebration and generosity, and concluding with Epiphany, a time of remembrance and thanksgiving, Yuletide traditions enable us to see out the old year with faith and love while ushering in the new year with hope and joy.

It is a season fraught with meaning and significance. Unfortunately, it is also such a busy season that its meaning and significance can all too easily be obscured either by well-intended materialistic pursuits—frenzied shopping trips to the mall to find just the right Christmas gift—or by the less benign demands, desires, wants, and needs which are little more than grist for human greed. The traditions of Yuletide were intended to guard us against such things—and thus, are actually more relevant today than ever before."