WHEW! Take one day off, and watch the emails pile up! Busy morning this morning, and no blog yesterday, as it was a full Christmas Day, but I'll try to briefly explain why we did what we did.
First of all, as Eastern Orthodox Christians, we strongly believe in preparation and celebration. Our advent is six weeks long and begins before Thanksgiving. The traditional preparation consists of fasting from meat, dairy products, and eggs for the six weeks. Before we had health issues and food allergies, we actually kept this fast (which also shows up during Lent and for two other two-week periods throughout the year); now we substitute other things.
I can't stress the preparation enough. The journey to the joy is as important as the joy. Gradually, we do the other things the secular world seems to do quickly and intensely. We add a few decorations here and there. The tree goes up and is garnished over time. Mostly, the preparation is internal, making room in our spirits to receive the ultimate in Christmas gifts: Jesus Christ.
When Christmas does arrive, we aren't burned out from a month of preholiday parties. We welcome it joyously, from Christmas Eve on December 24 through January 7 and beyond, for if you're really loath to bid Christmas good-bye, the Christmas season doesn't really end until Jesus' presentation in the temple, commemorated by Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox on February 2.
And, yes, we have kept our tree up that long.
What we did yesterday, the practical reasons why our family celebrates on the seventh, these are for another blog. I have over 100 emails calling my name, and a manuscript calling my name. I obviously don't have an hour to spend with Before the Blood this morning, but fifteen or twenty minutes should nicely connect me to it.
The weekend, after all, approacheth. :)
Christ is born! Let us glorify Him!