Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Simple Celebration

I love Christmas. I really do. What I don't like though, is the assault to my senses that I encounter everywhere! I'm all for getting into the 'spirit', but must we have tinsel, lights, Christmas trees, fake presents, baubles, horrible tinny sounding Christmas carols, and the feeling that we need to buy, buy, buy...drummed into us at every waking moment!?!?!? It's just all a bit much for me. The part that saddens me the most though, is that the meaning of Christmas has really and truly been lost on the majority of people.

For Christians, the celebration of Christmas is a time to remember the birth of their saviour, Jesus Christ, and a time to honor the gifts of salvation he bestowed on those who follow his Way. However, long before Christ, Yule was celebrated by most of Northern Europe, and this is where the majority of our Christmas traditions began. The Yule tree (now known as the Christmas tree) was decorated, the ceremonial yule log was burned and allowed to smoulder for 12 days (perhaps the origins of 'The 12 Days of Christmas' carol?), holly was hung on the doors of homes to snag or ward off evil spirits, and even kissing under the mistletoe has it's Pagan origins. Yule is the Winter Solstice, or the time when the dark half of the year surrenders to the light half, and the warmer weather, and her gifts, are welcomed. It was a time when people gave thanks to the gods and goddesses for their part in the cyclical nature of life, death and rebirth. Ultimately, it was another excuse for feasting and being surrounded by loved ones!

So for me, Christmas has so much more meaning than just the hype and rabble we see on TV and in the shopping centres. I intend this year to keep it simple and unadulterated. We will have a Christmas tree, but this year it will be a native tree in a pot. The decorations chosen will be special, preferably made by my children, and as natural as possible. We have a beautiful knitted Nativity set that will have pride of place on our entry table, and each day we will remember the story of the birth of baby Jesus, as we enter our home. A couple of years ago I made a felted advent calendar that we will use to count down the days, and I will teach the children about the Four Kingdoms of Life that I recently learned about. Thank you Mama Moontime! My children are still young, and Santa is a big part of Christmas for them, so of course they will get presents, but only a few well chosen, top quality gifts will be under the tree. Living in the Southern Hemisphere means that for us Christmas time falls around the Summer Solstice, so with my burgeoning knowledge of the sabats, we will also try to understand and celebrate this the best way we can.

It is my wish that my children will grow up with a deeper understanding of the blessings of the season, and so for this reason Christmas for us will be a time of reflection, of thanks and gratitude, of peace, and of love.

1 comment:

  1. Yes Becky, I heartily agree with you about all they hype. It has become so commercial and meaningless. from Mum