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Sunday, December 22, 2013


I am in the middle of my preparations and my exercise of the festal time of Childermastide.
(pronounced CHIL-der-mas-tide, like Christmastide is pronounced.)

I am going to reprint two posts from last year as Childermas 1 and Childermas 2 to give you the thinking behind Childermastide.
Childermas 1 was the first written, December 8, 2012, and preceded Newtown by about a week.
Childermas 2 was the second, written the day after Newtown.
This is the third. I hope my idea here is clear.

The order of posting is:
This post will be on top, Childermastide, and is an introduction as well as a summary.
Childermas 1 will follow below, and then Childermas 2.
A diagram and links:

1) this post Childermas
2) Childermas 1
3) Childermas 2

The word itself, Childermastide, comes from Anglo-Saxon, and it "Childer" + "-mas" + "-tide",
a) childer meaning children, which reminds us of "child" plus the "r" in "children", which itself has the plural ending "-en" as does "oxen"
b) -mas meaning feast, from mæsse,
c) -tide meaning time or period of the year, from tid or tiid.

"Childermas" itself is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the children slaughtered by King Herod upon his discovery that the Wise Men had given him the slip, and did not report back on the newly born king.
Childermas or the Feast of the Holy Innocents is celebrated on December 28, in the Western Rite Church in the Gregorian calendar, and on December 29 in the Eastern Rite Church using the Gregorian calendar. If the Julian calendar is used, Christmas itself is pushed back from the time of the Gregorian Christmas, and the Holy Innocents is January 11.

So Childermastide is the time of the feast of the (Holy) Children, just as Christmastide is the time of the feast of the (birth of the) Christ (child).

I started thinking about it last year, since the Newtown massacre occurred on December 14. The time - or tide - from December 14 through December 25 and on until December 28-29 struck me as a time most uniquely filled with the martyrdom of children at the start and the finish, yet redeemed with the hope of the birth of the Christ Child between the two memorials for the slaughtered:
it was a scenario which (1) brought us to tears, then (2) filled us with joy and hope, but as we and this time of year parted, it reminded us (3) of the terrible abuse and slaughter of the innocents in the world.

I observe it. I cannot say my family does, for they do not. I do not wish to impose anything upon others. If this is a good idea let others be inspired thereby.
Otherwise, it remains nothing more than Festivus, and one of my idiosyncracies.

However, if we do not like living in a weaponized society which is the outcome of unbridled and unprincipled aggression and competition, a society which marginalizes, and then destroys the poor and helpless and innocent, then let our example shame the others.


My wife just suggested we go to Chicago for Christmas next year, 2014. She thought a moment, then added,"That is, if you don't mind having people begging all over the place... people with their families and kids on the street, right in front of the Drake Hotel... "

She let the thought trail off.

I can not believe this. Is this our country? )


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