Saturday, January 05, 2013

Christ-Mass: Day 12 (St Telesphorus/St John Neumann)

“On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, twelve drummers drumming ...”

In the traditional Roman calendar, Mother Church remembers the man elected Bishop of Rome in 126, and martyred ten years later. The reformed Roman calendar honors the native of Bohemia who was appointed Bishop of Philadelphia in the mid-19th century, and who was a key figure in spreading the Faith to an ever-expanding United States of America.

Meanwhile, I found something I wrote on this day five years ago:

When I was growing up in a small town in Ohio, they had a unique way of disposing of used Christmas trees. They'd take them to some field at the edge of town, stack them in a big pile, and commemorate "Twelfth Night" with the lighting of a bonfire dubbed the "yule log." Of course, my parents didn't go for that sort of ribaldry, so I never actually saw it happen ...

These days, I imagine people would have a hard time penciling it in between trips to soccer practice and PTA meetings. Besides, reading this week's edition of the old hometown paper, I have learned that the town has yielded to other priorities, courtesy of the county's Office of Environmental Quality: "Many recycled trees are sent through a wood chipper and are used as mulch."

Now that kills the holiday magic right there. Then again, why celebrate the gifts of the season, when you can spend the rest of the year spreading them on your lawn or walking all over them?

Tomorrow night at Chez Alexandre, we will step out on to the porch and face the entrance. With a piece of chalk, the following will be inscribed over the door ...

20  +  C  +  M  +  B  +  13

...while saying these words out loud: "Christus Mansionem Benedicat! ... May Christ this dwelling bless!" The initials also stand for the names which tradition ascribes to the three wise men -- Caspar, Melchoir, and Balthasar.

Details tomorrow. Until then, stay tuned ...

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