Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Fortnight of Christmas

I didn't know this.
The Twelve Days of Christmas becomes two weeks this year.
The song won't make any sense.

You would think that a Liberal would be all in favor of chipping away at traditions, but I'm not enthusiastic about this change. The accretions of time are sometimes like a case of cataracts. Heck, modern medicine has decided to remove cataracts as soon as possible. The old wisdom of "wait until they get ripe" is long ago out the window. Kids of the future will never know what cataracts look like (or goiters) unless they travel to a third world country where people don't have modern medicine...or downtown in any American city where poor people live. But let's not think about those unpleasantries. Besides, I digress. Again.

I recall the priest at an Episcopal church telling us the first Sunday in January that the Methodists across the road were tearing down the manger scene they had put up for Christmas.
"I wanted to say, 'Wait! Don't tear it down yet! The Magi haven't got there yet!' "

He was being cute, of course. He knew that the Magi didn't get there for a a year or two, probably. There is nothing in the New Testament to indicate that they got there at the same time as the shepherds. Or that they ever even saw the manger. That is tradition, not scripture.
What we are told is that when Herod heard about the Newborn King he took no chances. He could have been born any time in the preceding two years, so the death squads dispatched to kill the innocents were after any child under the age of two.

But the Twelve Days of Christmas are sacrosanct. Or so I thought.

What kind of Epiphany are we having when we lose respect and understanding of the past?
Oh, well. If they can change the official birthdays of Washington and Lincoln to fit the needs of the economy, I guess anything is possible.

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