Monday, January 7, 2008

Against the Grain

We are in the season of Epiphany, though in the Ordinary Form of the Mass it's back to "Ordinary Time". My family still celebrates the season according to the Old Calendar.

So our Christmas tree remains in place until the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary also known as the Feast of the Presentation. We normally don't put up Christmas decorations until after Advent IV, but since we were away this year for Advent IV and Christmas, our house was bare of Christmas joy. So when we returned within the Octave of Christmas, the house was greened and Christmas cheer was put in place just as the neighbors were tossing their trees out and putting up banners of hearts and the like.

We're feeling quite counter-cultural, conspiratorial almost, being out of step with the world's chronos, but feeling just right in kairos.

It was amusing, at first, to see the giant inflatable Christmas decorations, especially those of the Grinch. But the amusement turned to distaste after a house, which we drive by everyday, displayed a giant inflatable creche. How totally crass, to cutify the Nativity in such a banal way...yes, it was in between a giant polar bear and a giant snowglobe. Then the cold snap came, deflating them. I may have to confess the sense of gloating that I indulged in.

Egg nog is on sale, and we're happily buying up quarts. And Christmas songs and chants still ring through our home. The mantle still has boughs of Frazier pine and red berries, and the window lights still shine to welcome the Christ Child.

Very, very soon, we will celebrate Septuagesima Sunday when the Alleluia will be buried and be put away in preparation for the austerity of Lent.

We have a few weeks yet of celebrating which will then be closed with the chanting of the beautiful Lumen ad revelationem gentium, one of my favorite plainchants.

Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuæ Israel. Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace. Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum. Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum.

A Light revealed to the Gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel. Now Thou dost dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, according to Thy word in peace; because my eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast pre¬pared before the face of all peoples.
Happy Second Day of the Octave of Epiphany!

UPDATE:
Zadok just tried to post a comment and somehow Blogger isn't co-operating. Here's what he said (thanks for the illumination, Z):
We're not back into Ordinary Time yet. The week after the Epiphany is still Christmastide according to the liturgical books. White vestments are worn and the Christmas or Epiphany prefaces are used.

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