Friday, 9 January 2009

Christmas Weekday.

It seems odd to look at the liturgical diary today and see the words 'Christmas Weekday' next to the entry for the day. It does not feel like Christmas anymore and in two days we will be celebrating the Baptism of Christ, which was of course the majority of His own life away from His nativity. The Baptism is historically closer to the Crucifixion (pictured above on a chasuble in the museum of the Basilica of the Precious Blood in Bruges above) than Christmas, yet Christmastide stretches until a day before the Baptism.

We can take a green break for a while though until we come to the circumcision in a couple of weeks, disturbing our liturgical body clocks still further. I always think of that feast when I drive down Wilmslow Road in Rusholme, the centre of the Asian (Indian, for our American readers, who equate Asian with Oriental) settlement in Manchester. There, amongst the many saree shops, curry houses, takeaways and shisha bars is a little doorway with a small sign above it saying 'Circumcisions, no appointment necessary'. I lived for years in London, wondering how on earth the local jewellers survived having only a small pad of very old digital watches in the window being sold for a lot of money until it was explained to me that they were in the business of circumcision rather than selling watches.

It seems a shame that Christmas and Easter are so close together, leaving most of the year for the more esoteric feasts. I would rather have a three year cycle, celebrating Christmas one year, then Easter the third, but I suppose that would be too much for our 'want it now' culture.