‘ON THE first day of Christmas ...’ I am sure many of you will remember how the carol goes from there?
It is interesting to note how the usage of the 25th of December has developed. In pre-Christian days it was celebrated as the Winter Solstice, and the date was not adopted until 336AD for the great Christian feast of Christmas.
At first the Epiphany (the celebration of the Baptism of Christ), was more important. It is celebrated on the 6th of January; the Armenian Church and some other ancient churches still celebrate this as their Christmas Day.
Going back to the song which I started with, it can be seen that Christmas Day was the first day of celebrating the birth of Christ and the celebrations went through for 12 days until the Epiphany.
Somehow it would appear the time of Christmas has once again been hi-jacked, this time prior to the date of the 25th of December. Commercialism and materialism have very much taken over, particularly in the less Christian countries of the west. A lady in one shop told me recently that Christmas goods were arriving in their shops as early as August; were they late for last year or early for this?
The great gift of God was the sending of His Son Jesus Christ to earth, it is Christ’s birthday we celebrate and how wonderful that we do, but let us try to remember whose birthday it is when we open presents and share our time together with friends, neighbours and our loved ones.
Can I make a plea that we also remember those who are so much worse off than we are; no food, no water, no shelter, so safe clean sanitary homes in which to live, very few clothes, no shoes ... and the list can go on.
Let us give thanks for what we have and pray and care for others who are less fortunate, this Christmas tide and always.