Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Eat, drink, and bray like a donkey

This was the floral decoration at the UU church this week. Davidson (a confessed hereric) has delivered a couple of really healing sermons this month on the topic of this holiday season. One was titled "The Real Reason For the Season" which you would expect to be a schmaltzy speech on how we should be helping those less fortunate (well, you should always do that whenever possible). Nope, that's not what it was about. First of all, it covered the history of the holiday back to pre-historic times, including Mithra and Constantine and Sol Invictus, and on through to the very secular or removed-from-religion trimmings that are so much a part of it today. The punch line (as I interpreted it) was that the day which provided the most darkness, in the cold of midwinter, happened to be the time when the wine was fermented and ready, certain cattle were slaughtered to eliminate the need to keep feeding them, and the depression of darkness all added up to it being high time for a party before hunkering down for the rest of the Winter ahead -- hence the title. Read it here, or listen to the audio here (Dec. 9). I also ran across an excellent Commentary in, of all things, the Wall Street Journal, called "A Brief History of Christmas" which also covers a lot of the Pagan stuff, but some of the early Church revelries were pretty interesting. I had never heard of the "Feast of the Ass" !! Read it here, and if the article comes up unavailable, I saved the text, so let me know.

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