Doing Christmas Together
“Here we come a wassailing among the leaves so green
Here we come a wandering so fair to be seen
(chorus) Love and joy come to you and to your wassail too
And God bless you and send you a happy New Year
And God send you a happy New Year
We are not daily beggars that beg from door to door
We are your neighbor’s children whom you have seen before
God bless the master of this house, likewise the mistress, too
And all the little children that round the table go.”
(Taken from: ChristmasTree.com)
Today, I am inspired to write you despite the quiet, even silent house from which my thoughts can run tippy-toe throughout. So I am getting the title and my mind is racing with this song: ‘Here we go a Christmassing among the trees so green!’ It sounds correct, but I still have to check it.(See PoemHunter.com)
The Olde English Christmastide then. Here is the interesting story of the wassail that I found in the Britanica Encyclopaedia of 1912 (from wikisource.org):
“WASSAIL (O. Eng. was hál, “be whole,” “be well”), primarily the ancient form of “toasting,” the term being applied later to the Christmas feasting and revelries and particularly to the bowl of spiced ale or wine which was a feature of the medieval Christmas. One of the earliest references to the wassail-bowl in English history is in the description of the reception of King Vortigern by Hengist, when Rowena “came into the king’s presence, with a cup of gold filled with wine in her hand, and making a low reverence unto the king said, ‘Waes hael hlaford Cyning,’ which is ‘Be of health, Lord King.’” In a collection of ordinances for the regulations of the royal household in Henry VII.’s reign, the steward on Twelfth Night was to cry “wassail” three times on entering with the bowl, the royal chaplain responding with a song. Wassailing was as much a custom in the monasteries as in laymen’s houses, the bowl being known as poculum Caritatis. What was popularly known as wassailing was the custom of trimming with ribbons and sprigs of rosemary a bowl which was carried round the streets by young girls singing carols at Christmas and the New Year. This ancient custom still survives here and there, especially in Yorkshire, where the bowl is known as “the vessel cup,” and is made of holly and evergreens, inside which are placed one or two dolls trimmed with ribbons. This cup is borne on a stick by children who go from house to house singing Christmas carols. In Devonshire and elsewhere it was the custom to wassail the orchards on Christmas and New Year’s eve. Pitchers of ale or cider were poured over the roots of the trees to the accompaniment of a rhyming toast to their healths.”
THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS
Since John was born on Passover, the 15th day of Nisan (the 1st Jewish month), Jesus would have been born six months later on the 15th day of Tishri (the 7th Jewish month). The 15th day of the 7th month begins the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:34-35), also known as Sukkot. Jesus was born on the 1st day of the Feast of Tabernacles! In the year 5 BCE, this fell in the month of September. (See ‘Jesus Real Birthday’ by Bryan T. Huie)
“The first day of Christmas occurred in a stable of a crowded inn that had a hord of horses and camels and mules, all used to transport the travelers. You can imagine how it was warmed by the foul breath of the animals, but also the droppings that are ever present there. (September 29th in the year 5 B.C.E.)”
My meditations don’t stop there, though my thought was to leave this soon-to-be-holy place. And Joseph and Mary arrived late with their hopes dashed for ever finding a decent place with which to accomplish their child’s imminent arrival. ‘What a deal! We had to come here for this?’ He asked himself as he ducked out into the alley-way for a breath of fresh air. His thoughts were of the dream he had as was the angelic visitation. (And speak of the Angel!)
A bright light was shining out of the stable entry, and Joseph was blinded by the sliver of light that reached out to where he was standing, but he realized it was coming from their stall. His tongue was stuck to his mouth when he saw his wife Mary being lifted up onto the immaculate delivery table where three angels were holding her and so gracefully taking the honors of bringing forth their King. Joseph took a step back in aghast, and steadied himself, as his imagination took over — was this another angelic dream he was having? It only took a few minutes.
“Whack!” Joseph heard from within. He heard the baby cry, and the light went away. Joseph hurriedly entered the now sweet smelling stable stall where he found Mary holding her beautifully perfect baby clothed in plain cloth completely protected from the harsh elements.
“Wha-what happened?” Joseph stutteringly asked his betrothed (wife).
“I was just feeling some movement like the baby was suddenly becoming alive within me, and my water broke.” She said beginning to describe the miraculous event.
“Ah, I saw the bright light and some other people in here that looked like a medical staff in an operating room.” He said.
“No Dear, they were really angels tasked to deliver our Lord as child.”
“Well I knew that, but while they were here, and I was watching, I could not even breathe for the fear their holy presence brought.”
“That is their supernatural nature, Joseph. Didn’t you tell me you met with Gabriel, the archangel, in a dream?”
“Right. That’s how I knew you were alright and being well taken care of.”
“Oh, Joseph! How you can carry on.” Mary said thinking his reaction was typical for the young Jewish man he was, and a Son of David at that.
Mary was holding her child as she was reclining on the blanket over the hay. She lifted up the baby to present him to her betrothed (husband).
“Isn’t he wonderful?” She said.
“Hello baby Yeshua.” Joseph said greeting him softly.
“Goo-gle ga-ga.” Jesus said in his baby-Nazareth dialect.
“What did he say?” Joseph asked Mary.
“He was greeting you with his very first words as he knows who you are.”
“His step-father, Silly.”
“I will have to write that down. His first words were calling me his google-gaga which is interpretted as Step-father.”
“That’s funny, Joseph.”
“What was that whacking sound?” He asked.
“The three angels had to decide who was going to slap our baby’s bottom, so they quickly did the scissor-rock-paper motions twice so that the one angel who won did the honors.”
“Aw, that’s not the truth, Mary?” Joseph said squinting his eyes.
“You’re right, I made that up. I felt no pain at all because the conception was exempt from the curse that enables pain. So what I think I saw might just be discounted and no one will want to remember that anyway.”
“Well who slapped Jesus’ bottom?”
“It was the last angel. He was bigger than the other two. He slapped him with a smile on his face, like he always wanted to do that, while the other two witnessed the event.”
“What happened then?”
“Yeshua breathed his first breath. And the angels left.”
“That was the cry I heard, right?”
Just then there was a knock on the stable entry, and a crowd of shepherd-looking people wanted to come in just to see their beautiful child. . .
“Quick, where shall we lay him? . . .”
And so you know the rest of the story. We were there briefly (in my mind) when it was the historic event that it was . . . The Bible says only that “Mary stored all these precious memories in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; dominion will rest on his shoulders, and he will be given the name Pele-Yo’etz El Gibbor Avi-‘Ad Sar-Shalom [Wonder of a Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace],” (Isaiah – Yesha’yahu 9:5 CJB)
Christmassing today with our family and friends, or even being totally alone with yourself and our Deliverer, take these thoughts with you. Our imagination is an extension of our heart which is filled up with many wonderful thoughts. My thoughts are warm towards doing this toast with you right now,
“May your Christmas be the Christmassing of your heartfelt dreams, to take the cup of blessing and lift it high to our Deliverer and King, to give us all our place within himself, and welcome each other by his Spirit, drinking our full measure — even to fill us full from bottom to top and overflowing with his love. Amen”
And I think you need a hug. So watch this:
Video: Christmas Hugs YouTube