When we think about it, having Christmas and New Years Day arrive only one week apart seems almost more than consequential n it arrives as an opportunity.
Most folks agree that the historic, cultural and Biblical evidence is more than compelling to suggest that Jesus Christ was probably not born on Dec. 25. After all, it is the commemoration of his arrival and message with that life, not the date on a calendar designed centuries after he walked the earth, that Christians hold sacred.
The selection of Dec. 25, for what was then called the Christ Mass, was not established until the fourth century, and according to church scholars, is believed to have been a move to bring the recognition of Christianity into winter solstice practices among some European tribes. It worked, and an institution was established.
In spite of practices, traditions and commercialization that have become connected to Christmas after Christians attached their message to practices of an ancient era, the simple message of kindness, generosity and the gift of an unexpected life continue to sine through.
Then, there is the practice of celebrating a new year. Again looking beyond being the first page of a calendar, an event for over indulgence, making promises never intended to be kept, or even the enjoyment of a televised football game, a change in the 12-month cycle offers observers an opportunity for fresh beginnings. Counting down to midnight for many means getting to begin life practices anew.
We wonder if the happenchance of Christmas and New Years Day coming together in what is often considered no more than an extended holiday could carry its own meaning.
A chance to start over is upon us all. New government bodies will take their seats in 2012. New school semesters begin for both students and teachers. And after a break from work, both employers and employees have an opportunity to start making this year better than last year.
It means letting the past die in the past. Releasing transgressions, hard feelings, burdensome concerns and even sorrow. Looking into the unknown future of a new year with anticipation of opportunities.
This is our wish for all our readers as well as ourselves, to have a meaningful Christmas and a rewarding New Year.
From the staff of the Tri-Parish Times and Gumbo Entertainment Guide.