It's December 26th, and we're a month into our new year. Advent is past, yesterday was Christmas Day, and here we are on the second day of Christmas: The Feast of St. Stephen. One thousand years after St. Stephen died, King Wenceslas is said to have braved wind and snow to deliver alms on the saint's day. A thousand years after that, someone wrote a song about it. And so the Christian aeon continues.
Over at Kuyperian Commentary, a blog for which I am a contributor, we are running a book giveaway to celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas. Go check it out. It will continue until January 5th, which is the end of Christmas. You can continue to earn entries throughout the giveaway.
And in my home, the time for flowering has come.
Tempus adest floridum. I kind of like that the secular, and of course, more widely observed new year falls just a month after the Christian new year. In the Christian year, just like in the Christian week, the feast comes before the battle. First Sunday, then the week. First Advent and Christmas, then the year. Before we realize it, it will be Lent. In a way, January 1st will be like a Monday. That is, not my first day of the week, but the world's, and the day to start working.
Hard times are coming. But first, we feast.
St. Stephen's Day is a good day to remember that we deserve no good things, but receive anyway an inheritance of princes from the one whom we despised.
In Ireland, St. Stephen's Day is also the Day of the Wren. A dead wren is placed in a bush, then coins are gathered by children, wrenboys and mummers, in order to pay for the funeral expenses of the bird. The wren is Jesus. And how does the wren die? He is killed by the very boys who prepare his funeral feast.
We, who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it, our sin is not held against us. All things are forgiven us, even the killing of the Righteous One whom we have betrayed and murdered. We killed the Son of God, who when he arose in his wrath gave us gifts.