Tuesday, 8 January 2013

On feasting and fasting: It's still Christmastime!

Just thought it might be timely to remember that it is still actually the season of Christmas!

Although we are now past the Twelve Days of Christmas, and into Epiphanytide, it is worth remembering that the season of Epiphany is actually part of the greater Christmas season.

Mind you, Christmas has been getting shorter and shorter in recent times.

Once upon a time, Christmastide lasted until February 2, and the Feast of the Purification, so that it extended to forty days, mimicking and counter-balancing the length of Lent.  Indeed, if you say the 1962 version of the Divine Office, the Office of Our Lady on Saturday retains this extended Christmas season.

Then it was cutback, so as to end on January 13.  And the octave of Epiphany was eliminated.

In a way that is fair enough: the Church doesn't oblige us to do very much by way of fasting in Lent these days, so the need for a counter-balancing period of feasting also diminishes.

But perhaps we need to recover those cycles of fasting and feasting that so help to reinforce the message of the changing liturgical seasons...

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