December 29, 2019 Eric Blauer

The Danger of Christmastide

Shot with NOMO INS W.

What is the meaning of this?” asked the Witch Queen. Nobody answered. “Speak, vermin!” she said again. “Or do you want my dwarf to find you a tongue with his whip? What is the meaning of all this gluttony, this waste, this self-indulgence? Where did you get all these things?”

That was the White Witch’s inquisition on the woodland creatures of Narnia’s Christmas Party and it should be the question asked of all of us who are still keeping Christmastide.

Unfortunately, these days we do not have the joyful stamina to truly keep festival. We have been worn down and weakened by our palsy prosperity and there’s little vigor and vitality left for music, feasting, singing, dancing, giving of gifts and the hardest of all Christmastide celebrations…being with each other.

December 21 was the Winter Solstice, the longest night and shortest day of the year. We are now in the season when the light of day is growing longer and night is growing shorter. Celebrating the arrival of light and the diminishment of darkness has been a rich part of our Anglo-Saxon past.

For Christians, during this part of the season, we celebrate the Lord Jesus’ birth in a feast called Christmastide. This season traditionally lasts until the feast of Epiphany which is celebrated on January 6 every year, also known as “Three Kings’ Day.” This lasts until the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ [at the Temple] (called Candlemas) on February 2 (40 days after Christmas, when, according to Leviticus 12:1–8, Mary would have to be ritually purified after childbirth).

“Epiphany” comes from the Greek epiphaneia, meaning “manifestation” or “appearance.” In 2 Timothy 1:9–10, the word is used to refer to the manifestation of Jesus Christ:

“This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel”.

It’s in this light that we continue to celebrate. If anything our party should be in full rage-mode by now if we truly are captured by the truth of what our gospel is proclaiming. Is joy a one-day event or a posture and power of the heart?

Christmas is a tide that at certain cycles of sun and moon crashes upon the shorelines of our communities and floods them with unintoxicated cheer, prenuptial promise, ridiculous generosity, and unrestrained godly gaiety?

Do we dare leave the birth of Savior in the stable and head back home only with the memories of the birth?

Bah humbug! That’s languid lunacy bereft of the gift of the heavenly stardust of Divine levity!

If the Apostle Paul had to write letters of restraint to the feasting that would break out at the Greeks weekly celebrations of the Lord’s table, shouldn’t there be some possibility of danger in our delight too?

Or have we been turned to stone?

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Chapter 11 by C.S. Lewis

“But I will skip on to the time when the snow had stopped and the morning had come and they were racing along in the daylight. And still they went on and on, with no sound but the everlasting swish of the snow and the creaking of the reindeer’s harness. And then at last the Witch said, “What have we here? Stop!” and they did.

How Edmund hoped she was going to say something about breakfast! But she had stopped for quite a different reason.

A little way off at the foot of a tree sat a merry party, a squirrel and his wife with their children and two satyrs and a dwarf and an old dogfox, all on stools round a table. Edmund couldn’t quite see what they were eating, but it smelled lovely and there seemed to be decorations of holly and he wasn’t at all sure that he didn’t see something like a plum pudding.

At the moment when the sledge stopped, the Fox, who was obviously the oldest person present, had just risen to its feet, holding a glass in its right paw as if it was going to say something. But when the whole party saw the sledge stopping and who was in it, all the gaiety went out of their faces.

The father squirrel stopped eating with his fork half-way to his mouth and one of the satyrs stopped with its fork actually in its mouth, and the baby squirrels squeaked with terror.

“What is the meaning of this?” asked the Witch Queen. Nobody answered. “Speak, vermin!” she said again. “Or do you want my dwarf to find you a tongue with his whip? What is the meaning of all this gluttony, this waste, this self-indulgence? Where did you get all these things?”

“Please, your Majesty,” said the Fox, “we were given them. And if I might make so bold as to drink your Majesty’s very good health – “

“Who gave them to you?” said the Witch.

“F-F-F-Father Christmas,” stammered the Fox.

“What?” roared the Witch, springing from the sledge and taking a few strides nearer to the terrified animals. “He has not been here! He cannot have been here! How dare you – but no. Say you have been lying and you shall even now be forgiven.”

At that moment one of the young squirrels lost its head completely. “He has – he has – he has!” it squeaked, beating its little spoon on the table.

Edmund saw the Witch bite her lips so that a drop of blood appeared on her white cheek. Then she raised her wand. “Oh, don’t, don’t, please don’t,” shouted Edmund, but even while he was shouting she had waved her wand and instantly where the merry party had been there were only statues of creatures (one with its stone fork fixed forever half-way to its stone mouth) seated round a stone table on which there were stone plates and a stone plum pudding.

“As for you,” said the Witch, giving Edmund a stunning blow on the face as she re-mounted the sledge, “let that teach you to ask favour for spies and traitors. Drive on!”

And Edmund for the first time in this story felt sorry for someone besides himself. It seemed so pitiful to think of those little stone figures sitting there all the silent days and all the dark nights, year after year, till the moss grew on them and at last even their faces crumbled away.”

“Let us keep the Feast: -1 Corinthians 5:8

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About the Author

Eric Blauer I am barbarian, sage, saint, bard, husband and father. Bow my knee to only One, serve all, ruled by none.

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