Tuesday, December 11, 2007

SynchroBlog - Geocentric Versus Anthropocentric Holydays: Solstice and Christmas


Here in America our Holidays tend to be based around the celebration of the activities of human beings. Labor Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving , even Easter and Christmas celebrate the activities of human enterprise and often the celebration of overcoming impossible odds. Christmas which is nearly upon us is the celebration of the coming of Christ, and even so it is the celebration of a man - although God - still a man who did great things.

These celebrations are good - needed - appropriate, and especially in the case of Christmas and Easter needed for the health off Christianity, but as we enter in to the time of Christmas and its near neighbor the Winter Solstice I wonder if we have lost the mystery of the geocentric holydays. In agrarian cultures days were celebrated around harvest and planting and seasons. The feasts of Israel include both geocentric holidays based in the harvest, and the anthropocentric/theocentric holidays such as Passover with the deliverance of the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt.

In my culture only Halloween, and New Year's Eve are calendrically based in the changes of the seasons, and even then nothing is remembered about these days which ties us back to the earth and changing seasons.

I believe that God has given us the seasons with beautiful lessons mysteriously hidden in the dynamic changes. I do not believe that we should stop celebrating th achievements of man, and certainly not the achievements of God through men, but a return to geocentric holyday celebrations may well yield a return to the mysteries of God as they are hidden in the seasons He has given us.


Redeeming the Season is the Topic for this month's SynchroBlog. Now there are a variety of seasons being celebrated at the end of each year from Christmas to Hannukah to Eid al-Adha and Muharram, from the Winter Solstice to Kwanzaa and Yule. Some people celebrate none of these seasonal holydays, and do so for good reason. Below is a variety of responses to the subject of redeeming the season. From the discipline of simplicity, to uninhibited celebration, to refraining from celebrating, to celebrating another's holyday for the purpose of identification with their culture the subject is explored. Follow the links below to "Redeeming the Season." For more holidays to consider see here


Recapturing the Spirit of Christmas at Adam Gonnerman's Igneous Quill
Swords into Plowshares at Sonja Andrew's Calacirian
Fanning the Flickering Flame of Advent at Paul Walker's Out of the Cocoon
Lainie Petersen at Headspace
Eager Longing at Elizaphanian
The Battle Rages at Bryan Riley's Charis Shalom
Secularizing Christmas at JohnSmulo.com
There's Something About Mary at Hello Said Jenelle
Geocentric Versus Anthropocentric Holydays at Phil Wyman's Square No More
Celebrating Christmas in a Pluralistic Society at Matt Stone's Journeys in Between
The Ghost of Christmas Past at Erin Word's Decompressing Faith
Redeeming the season -- season of redemption by Steve Hayes
Remembering the Incarnation at Alan Knox' The Assembling of the Church
A Biblical Response to a Secular Christmas by Glenn Ansley's Bad Theology
Happy Life Day at The Agent B Files
What's So Bad About Christmas? at Julie Clawson's One Hand Clapping

13 comments:

Bryan Riley said...

Your post definitely made me go "hmmm" in a positive way, but I was wondering if you had some suggestions or applications for how we can do this.

carl said...

What's funny is that even within the beautiful phenemonon of the changing of seasons there is consumerism that centers around that as well.

There are supposed fashion rules (shouldn't wear certain colors during certain seasons etc.). There are knick knacks that represent a certain season and so on.

In our culture this is perhaps the closest form of geocentric celebration.

john heasley said...

I do enjoy the fact that in the uk we still have harvest festivals and services, but they seem to be in sharp decline, because we are not, as a society as aware of, or grateful for, a good harvest. Everything is still in the supermarkets when we want it....

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Bryan,

A little gathering in the woods during the solstices and equinoxes, with some meditation on the revelation of God in nature is a great way to start I think.

Thanks for being part of this.

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Carl,

Yeah we mess it all up, don't we?

Pastor Phil said...

Hi John,

Unfortunately only the Pagans seem to be headed in the right direction with this kind of celebration. Perhaps they have something to teach us.

Pam Hogeweide said...

this post has busted me. i have secretly envied pagans for their determination to preserve wonder and demonstrate honor and gratitude for the beauty of nature and all her bounty.

Modernity competes for every minute of my time and energy. I love the idea of making space and sacred days for thankful acknowledgment of harvests and seasons. I'll have to think of how to do this with my family...

Pastor Phil said...

Hey Pam,

It didn't take this post to bust you. You Pagan loving, tree hugging, earth still deep in your toenails lady. I'll heft up an ale to the God Who rides on the dark clouds with you at Solstice. I think they still call him YHWH.

Sally said...

another positive hmmm. here. Thanks Phil- I got a post up at the last moment- it has been a rough week.

Pastor Phil said...

Hi Sally,

Thanks. Always good having you jump in - even if late.

Jenelle said...

I think I need more pagan friends to teach me these things. Thank you for this post. A wise perspective.

I hope your book is coming along well, Phil.

Smartin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Smartin said...

The Hindu festival of lights, which takes place every fall, is known as Diwali is very beautiful. Do a Google search for images for a visual treat. It signifies the victory of light over darkness and good over evil.