i've been sitting, thinking about what christmas means for me as a post-modern episcopalian. i don't believe it's the literal birthdate of jesus. i don't believe it should be a big birthday party for jesus (that's how christmas strikes me in britain where they wear paper hats at the dinner table). i think of most church calendar events these days as symbolic, landmarks throughout the year to keep the comforting human element of routine alive in religion. i was listening to the infinite mind on npr today and the show was about religion. they mentioned a sect of christianity that has stripped away all the symbols and rituals. that so works for some people, but i need those landmarks, those calendar dates dotted with the death dates of saints, the liturgical seasons when we change colors, change gospels, switch to rite 1 or maybe use another country's prayer book. it keeps me going, especially advent and lent because i hate winter so. i like to have christmas and all it's lights to look forward to and i need lent to get me through the end of winter, spiritually hibernating and finally breaking out into the world after the gloom of the tomb.
i think i'll pull out my vegetarian goddess cookbook and find a good recipe for solstice and light my candles and plug in my tree and listen to christmas carols and meditate.
merry christmas and happy new year.
sister mary alt.