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Solstice means...

standing-still-sun

Brightener
of Darkness, hail!

Keeper of Clearness, 

Opener of the Depths,

Gifts of plenty are arising.

Winter wonders, white snow’s fall,

Joyful be the heart within us,

Open wide the guesting door,

Wisdom waken in abundance,

Warm our beings to the core.

                              

Celtic Devotional 

                              
Caitlin Matthews

The True Meaning of Christmas

by Keith Rosenberg

So here it is December the traditional holiday season,
but for what holiday. There is Chanukah, Kwanzaa, and Yule, yet everywhere
you go it seems you hear Christian Christmas carols. Now I don’t begrudge
the Christians the right to have their Holiday, but why, in a county with
such a diverse ethnic culture as Canada’s, are those of us that are NOT Christian
forced to endure the sounds of the Christian faith every time we go out to
the malls or deal with anyone in the public sector. We have all heard it at
this time of year, many people trying to be nice and saying “Merry Christmas”
and I wonder do they even know why they celebrate Christmas in December?

No one knows for sure when Christ
was born but they guesstimate it to be sometime in December or January, (some
even speculate that it may even have been as late as July and even September.).
The date of Christmas depended upon the pagan Brumalia (December 25th) following
the Saturnalia (December 17th-24th), which celebrated the shortest day of
the year and the ‘new sun’, the date of which could not be accurately determined.
The pagan Saturnalia and Brumalia were too deeply entrenched in popular custom
to be set aside by Christians…The pagan festival with it’s rioting and merrymaking
was so popular that Christians were glad of an excuse to continue its celebration
with little change in spirit and in manner.

 Christian preachers of the West
and the Near East protested against the unseemly frivolity with which Christ’s
birthday was celebrated, while Christians of Mesopotamia accused the western
brothers of Idolatry and Devil worship for adopting this Pagan Festival as
Christian. When the Emperor Constantine professed Christianity, placing it
on an equal footing with paganism, Christianity suddenly became popular. However
most of the “converts” had been brought up with pagan customs, one
of which is Brumalia on December 25th. They enjoyed this festival of joy and
merrymaking, and they did not want to give it up! As Christianity grew the
Pagan faiths were forced in to the shadows. Until such times that the true
meaning of the Holiday was lost to all.

The Christians also adopted quite
a few other pagan rituals for this time of year, i.e.

Ancient pagans used the mistletoe
at the festival of the winter solstice because it was considered sacred to
the sun. The mistletoe supposedly had miraculous healing powers, probably
due to the fact that not only the plant remained green throughout winter but
also it actually bore fruit during this time, a sign of fertility. This led
to the tradition of “kissing under the mistletoe” – occurring early
in the night of revelry and drunken debauchery, which celebrated the death
of the “old sun” and birth of the “new sun” at the solstice.

Holly berries were also considered sacred to the sun-god. Holly was revered
along with the mistletoe, with decorations of those greeneries prominent in
buildings and places of worship during the winter festival – leading to the
holly wreath that we have today.

The burning of the Yule Log originated with the Druids and their ritual burning
of a carefully chosen log during the winter. The word “Yule” is
derived from the old Anglo-Saxon word “hweol” which means “wheel”
– a pagan symbol of the sun. Indeed the “Yule Log” is in fact the
“Sun Log”!!

 So there you have my humble
opinion of what this season is all about, THEFT of beliefs. I think in this
day when so many religions are recognized by our government that it is time
to do away with the Statutory holidays that are of a Christian basis, and
have a celebration of life, ours not a deities but those of us that work hard
through life’s struggles everyday.

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