Hallo again to all.
It is the first Sunday after Christmas, the last Sunday of 2001, and the seventh anniversary of Anglicans Online. Like many of you, we're reflecting on this tumultuous year, enjoying the Christmas season, and are delighted that AO is beginning its eighth year.
It is indeed the Christmas season, as every churchgoing Anglican knows. Today in church you probably sang carols and heard a sermon about the birth of Jesus, perhaps taken from John 1. If you are anything like us, you cannot avoid the secular event of Christmas, and you participate in the traditions that are part of the social aspects of this holiday. In today's News Centre editorials in three different African newspapers all grumble about some aspect of what the celebration of Christmas has become. In our hearts we may murmur a little bit, too, but if our faith is to be any sort of example for the society around us, we must not be hermits, we must be part of that society.
What to do? Over the past few years, we've found ourselves more and more drawn to Twelfth Night and Epiphany as the best occasions on which we can have a celebration of the birth of Christ that is at once religious and part of our culture. Almost nobody has asked us about buying Epiphany presents or sending Epiphany cards, and none of the markets that we frequent has ever had an Epiphany sale. The cultural context of Epiphany doesn't involve snow or icicles or sleighs or reindeer, so it works just as well in the Southern Hemisphere. Nearly everyone has heard vaguely of the twelve days of Christmas, but very few seem to have much of an idea what to do with the other eleven. So here's a radical idea: What about our church trying to recapture the holiness of Christmas by more or less surrendering December 25 to television and popular culture, and focusing instead on the other eleven daysespecially the last?
If you've ever been in Latin America during Christmastide, you know that this is already happening. It's called Three Kings Day. It's too late to plan anything for this year, of course, but do have a look at our collection of Epiphany resources. Maybe over the coming year we can talk and think about it. Perhaps in your part of the Anglican world, the Feast of the Epiphany is more important than it is in ours, in which case you can help us learn how it is done. Tell us what you think.
Meanwhile, in the here and now, do have a look at the News Centre for a summary of Anglican-related stories round the Communion, see New This Week for a roster of new sites and some good reading in 'Worth Noting', and in his new essay, find out just what it was like for our long-time columnist, Pierre Whalon, to become a bishop.
Warmest wishes for 2002 to all our readers. As an Anglican bishop once said:
See you next week.
Last updated: 30 December 2001