Wednesday, December 1

Yuletide

The holiday season—what we generically just call Christmastime—is actually a long sequence of holy days, festal revelries, and liturgical rites stretching from the end of November through the beginning of January that are collectively known as Yuletide.

Beginning with Advent, a time of preparation and repentance, proceeding to Christmas, a time of celebration and generosity, and concluding with Epiphany, a time of remembrance and thanksgiving, Yuletide traditions enable us to see out the old year with faith and love while ushering in the new year with hope and joy.

It is a season fraught with meaning and significance. Unfortunately, it is also such a busy season that its meaning and significance can all too easily be obscured either by well-intended materialistic pursuits—frenzied shopping trips to the mall to find just the right Christmas gift—or by the less benign demands, desires, wants, and needs which are little more than grist for human greed. The traditions of Yuletide were intended to guard us against such things—and thus, are actually more relevant today than ever before.

4 comments:

ladyhawthorne said...

Thanks for reminding people of this, I just wrote about something similar on my blog along with some history on why Xmas is not wrong. I also seem to have stirred up some trouble on facebook with my history lesson too. Might be your fault though as you taught me to learn my history, lol.

Brandy Afterthoughts said...

Speaking of history...I wasn't raised with any sort of Advent tradition, etc., so all of this is something my family has been learning over the past few years. I have a relative who insists that Yuletide is actually a Germanic pagan tradition. Is this true? Or can you point me to a book that explains it? Thank you.

George Grant said...

Brandy: In fact, many of the traditions of Yuletide come from the missionary efforts of Boniface among the fierce, pagan Germanic tribes. For the story of how he confronted their cruel cultus and how our beloved Christmas celebrations emerged, see my own book "Christmas Spirit" or any number of other titles dealing with that subject.

Brandy @ Afterthoughts said...

Thank you, Dr. Grant. I am putting your book on my list. :)