Winter and the Moon of the New Year
First Day of Christmastide: Boxing Day
Saturday gratefuls: Boxing Day. Chili. Chicken soup. Matzo balls. Kate. Kep. Rigel. Murdoch. Joe. Seoah. Jon. Ruth. Gabe. Mimi. Mary. Mark. Diane. The clan. Family memories. A quiet Christmas. White here on Shadow Mountain. The deer that walked across our driveway.
The Twelve Days of Christmas, or Christmastide begins today, the day after the festival of the incarnation. Namaste.
It’s St. Stephen’s day. According to legend, St. Stephen was the first Christian martyr. A convert formerly of King Herod’s court, he was about to escape when a wren’s song woke up his captors. This is one explanation for the bizarre practice of killing wrens on this day. This day only. Otherwise, very unlucky.
There were two other traditions that give St. Stephen’s day an animal theme. First, horses were ridden as hard as possible, then bled. This practice promised to cure them of all ills for the coming year. Second, an alternative story of St. Stephen’s martyrdom has him captured by thugs, killed, then tied to the back of an unbroken colt. The colt took Stephen’s body all the way back to his home.
Boxing day in England was a time to give boxes, presents, to servants who presumably worked hard on Christmas day. I’m going to honor this aspect of boxing day by putting out tips for the mail and paper carriers. On Monday though, not today.
If you’re looking for a more pagan way to celebrate boxing day, it’s a good choice for celebrating animals. Here’s an invocation from John Matthew’s book: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas.
Creatures of the wild world
We honor your strength,
We honor your power,
We honor your joy!
May you bring us:
The Gift of your presence,
The Blessing of your truth,
The Light of your being,
Now and through the year to come.