Christmas will be all over six weeks from now. Retailers are aware of the fact and the push for seasonal sales is well under way. Christmas has gradually become my least favourite holiday of the year. The hype and obligation, commercialism and expense smother out whatever the "true" meaning of the season is supposed to be.
|Spray painting pressed oak leaves|
Yule celebrations, which coincide with the darkest days of winter in the northern hemisphere, are meshed with the religious observance of Jesus Christ's birth. (even though he was likely born sometime in the spring). The same thing happens at Easter when the celebration of Jesus' resurrection is combined with Ostara, another ancient tradition. I know people who celebrate "Happy Spring", separating it from Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday which they observe with more solemnity. But I don't know any Christians who celebrate "Happy Winter" or Yule, separating it from their observance of Advent.
|Teasels and Milkweed Pods|
This year I have determined to make this holiday more meaningful. I want to enjoy our changing seasons and live out the message of the angels who said to the shepherds, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men."
There are plenty of opportunities in our area to support charities and local business by buying gifts at bazaars, markets and small shops. We support the Mennonite Central Committee and Plan in giving money to buy specific items, from goats to school books, for people in third world countries.
|Christmas cookies for sale at our local market|
What makes this season special for you? What are your favourite traditions?
|Close up of the ornaments|