Monday, December 22, 2008


The interesting piece by Dr. Tighe, posted below, certainly illustrates some of the reasons it is inaccurate to claim that Christmas is "merely" a christianization of a pagan festival. I'm unconvinced by the calendric reasoning involved, though there's a plausibility about it, but I am convinced that the selection of this date (whether His actual birthday or not) does make sense from a purely Christian viewpoint. I wrote the following a few days ago.

December 15, 2008. We've just had an ice storm, and many homes are still without power or heat. The days have been getting shorter, which always tends to feed my depression, and the weather is getting progressively colder, which doesn't help either. Tomorrow would have been our thirtieth anniversary, had Dorothy lived, but she left this world almost seventeen years ago. This could be a very hard time of year, but, during this season of Advent, we prepare for the coming of the Lord, and just as the sun hits its low point on the solstice, and begins to bring light back into the midst of the cold, so on Christmas we remember that greatest of all gifts, and there is hope. . . .


The sun sinks in the sky,
lower, ever lower sinking,
sinking as the days are swiftly waning,
and the nights are waxing ever longer,
and the darkness deepens at the closing of the year.
Spring is far behind us, and the summer gone,
and the harvests have been gathered,
and the windows shuttered tight against the cold,
that cold that soon, too soon, will rule the out-of-doors,
and creep beneath the bundled scarves and cloaks and coats,
and chill the bones of all who venture outward,
even creeping subtly into houses where they dwell,
and nothing grows,
and all the earth is frozen hard,
and mounds of snow make travels very hard indeed.

And it is the solstice,
and the darkness has achieved its greatest length,
and the earth has sunk as deeply into gloom as ever can be seen,
and the sun has barely come to bring the day,
when day is rudely taken from our sight, and ends.
It is the solstice, day of deepest darkness, longest night,
that leads us to the brink of dark despair,
to the brink beyond which we perhaps could not endure,
but, even as the hardness of the winter just begins,
as the sureness of the deepening cold and driving storms is on us,
even then the solstice comes with hope,
even then the knowledge of the end of waning is appearing,
as the shortest day yields to one a little longer, then to yet another,
and the sun begins to rise up in the winter sky,
and in the midst of stressful prisoning weather, there is hope,

And, though the date of birth remains unknown,
the celebration of these days seems very right,
for in a world of darkness and of sin,
where the coldness of men's hearts e'er seems to reign,
and sometimes spirits tire and energies begin to flag,
the Son is born and seen to walk among us,
and in darkness of His death and brightness of His rising,
brings the promise of the dawning of a day of light,
and there is hope.

------------------------ed pacht

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