Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Christmas and a Blessed Yule

I have a feeling I'm not alone. I'm a Pagan who loves Christmas. I was raised as a Christian child. My dad was the choir director at the Episcopal Church where I went all through my childhood. Christmas brought the pageant. We dressed up like angels and shepherds and acted out a beautiful story of the birth of a baby. Christmas is more than a religious holiday. It's a time that symbolizes warmth, safety, kindness, peace, goodwill toward men. You don't have to be a Christian to love these things. And, to tell the truth, I have a soft spot in my heart for the carpenter of lowly birth, who sought to teach others to live in harmony and peace.

 But I'm a Pagan. I won't be celebrating Christmas as a religious holiday. My religious holiday is December 22nd, Yule. For those who don't know, Yule is when the dark half of the year gives way to the light. It is when the Oak King, the Sun God who gives life, is reborn of the Goddess, vanquishing the Holly King. I always think of Christmas as the day that the Son is born, and Yule the day that the Sun is born. There are so many parallels between the two holidays, though (of course) each has a meaning that is uniquely it's own.

This year that we will not be celebrating Christmas at all.  We asked the kids what they wanted to do.  Celebrate Yule as a religious holiday and then Christmas as a cultural one?  Just Yule?  It turned out they were perfectly content to celebrate only Yule.

So, we've decorated the Yule Tree. We'll have presents. We'll make cookies for Santa. In fact, in my husband's tradition (Asatru), the God Odin was said to ride across the sky, giving gifts to his people.  Odin looks a bit like Santa actually, if maybe just a touch fiercer.  We will spend time with those we love, give thanks for the many gifts of the Season, and rejoice that there is a light in the darkness.  Whether Christian or Pagan, these are great gifts, for which we should be grateful.  And as much as I love Christmas, I've realized that I haven't given up a single thing that I truly love.

Happy Christmas and a Blessed Yule to all those who celebrate.   .


Yule Resources for families:
The Pooka Pages for Pagan Kids
Celebrating Yule With Kids
Yule @ Pagan Kids N Kin

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