The Goddess of Easter~ More history of our celebrations


 

The Goddess Ostara

Goddess Ostara

Ostara (Oestre)
Saxon Goddess of the Dawn and Spring

Ostara, the Germanic Goddess of Dawn who was responsible for bringing spring each year, was feeling horribly guilty about arriving so late one year. To make matters even worse, the first thing she saw when she arrived was a pitiful little bird who lay dying, his wings frozen by the snow.

Lovingly, Ostara cradled the shivering creature and saved his life.

Legend has it that she then made him her pet or, in the adult-rated versions, her passionate lover. Filled with compassion for him since he could no longer fly because of his wings had been so damaged by the frost, the goddess Ostara turned him into a rabbit, a snow hare. She named him Lepus.

She also gave him the wonderful gift of being able to run with such astonishing speed that he could easily evade all the hunters.  And to honor his earlier incarnation as a bird, she also gave him the ability to lay eggs (in all the colors of the rainbow, no less). He was, however, only allowed to lay eggs on one day out of each year

.

Ostara and the Easter Bunny

But all good things must come to an end.

Eventually Ostara lost her temper with Lepus (some say the raunchy rabbit was involved with another woman), and she flung him into the skies where he would remain for eternity as the constellation Lepus (The Hare), forever positioned under the feet of the constellation Orion (the Hunter).

But later, remembering all the good times they had enjoyed together, the goddess Ostara softened a bit and allowed the hare to return to earth once each year, but only to give away his eggs to the children attending the Ostara festivals that were held each spring.
 

   

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You can read the story of
Easter Traditions ::
Goddess Ostara and the Easter Bunnyhere.

 

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Leap Year History


 

I subscribe to Goddess Gift with Goddess Musings from Sharon which is where the following comes from. I really enjoy the emails I receive that provides history of our celebrated days.  It really makes you appreciate the special days in its entirety and respect the history behind the celebration.  Enjoy!
Myths

It’s Leap Day, or Leap Year’s Day, but not as some people mistakenly think, Sadie Hawkin’s Day.

So . . . have you proposed to your favorite man today?

That tradition started with Brigid of Ireland (variously known as a goddess and a saint). On behalf of the many Irish women of the 5th century who were having to wait for a proposal of marriage while their reproductive time-clocks were ticking away, Saint Brigid intervened on the behalf and petitioned Saint Patrick for the equal right for women to do the proposing. Apparently she was convincing because he did agree, but the canny bishop must have been reluctant since he restricted the privilege to Leap Year Day alone.

It’s not too late if you have a hankering to do that. It’s leap day and you’re allowed.

I exercised my right this morning and proposed to my husband, reminding him that if he refused he’d have to pay me 12 goats in recompense. (Don’t know where the goats came from. They just popped out of my mouth.) The official fine for refusal in Denmark was 12 gloves.

Bright, Shiny Symbols

I love vintage art. Enjoy peeking back in time and seeing how far we women have come (or weep when we haven’t).

 

 

Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

This 1908 postcard says a lot about attitudes toward women, don’t you think?

The verse reads:

Maidens are eagerly waiting
Their Traps enticingly bating
For the year Nineteen nought eight
By the old laws of leap year
They can propose without fear
And pick their own choice for a mate.

Now I’m not at all certain that the attitude has totally changed that much, but at least it would no longer be politically correct. (Not that I’m always a big fan of PC, you understand.) But if you want to see politically incorrect by today’s standards, just think back to the Lil’ Abner cartoon strip that some of us, the crones in the bunch, grew up reading.

Bright, Shiny Symbols

And that’s where Sadie Hawkins comes into the story. On leap day our schools and churches often held a Sadie Hawkins dance, and it was up to the girls to ask the guys out for the date. And all that started with the story line of the cartoon strip.

One of the characters, Sadie Hawkins, lived in Dogpatch (a thinly disguised town in the Appalachian mountains, where I now live and love, was populated of course with “hillbillies”. She was characterized as the “homeliest gal in all them hills”. As she approached the ancient age of 35, her father despaired. It seemed he had a spinster on his hands. (In this way the cartoon strip seems just a poor man’s version of Downton Abby.)

As the leader of the community, he declared a footrace to be held. Here were the rules he laid down:

“When ah fires [my gun], all o’ yo’ kin start a-runnin! When ah fires agin–after givin’ yo’ a fair start–Sadie starts a runnin’. Th’ one she ketches’ll be her husbin.”

The event was so popular with the women it was repeated year after year. If a woman caught a bachelor and dragged him, kicking and screaming, across the finish line before sundown–by law he had to marry her!


The Greek Goddess Atalanta really started it all . . .
Goddess Psyche

Now the thing that really strikes me is that this cartoon epidsode was just an inverted retelling of the myths of the Greek Goddess Atalanta. I like that telling a lot better. She may have been the uppiest of all the goddesses, but this was a woman who knew what she wanted and raced out to get it. We all could do with a lot more of that.

Find the Myths of the Goddess Atalanta and the Story of the Golden Apples here.

Enough for now, enjoy your “extra day”.

History of the Easter Bunny


Retrieved from: http://www.goddessgift.com/pandora%27s_box/easter-history.htm

 

Easter : History and Traditions

Goddess Ostara
History of Easter Eggs

History of the Easter Bunny
Goddess Ishtar and the First Resurrection


 

Easter History : Christian and Pagan Traditions Interwoven

 

The history of Easter reveals rich associations between the Christian faith and the seemingly unrelated practices of the early pagan religions. Easter history and traditions that we practice today evolved from pagan symbols, from the ancient goddess Ishtar to Easter eggs and the Easter bunny.

Easter, perhaps the most important of the Christian holidays, celebrates the Christ’s resurrection from the dead following his death on Good Friday. . . a rebirth that is commemorated around the vernal equinox, historically a time of pagan celebration that coincides with the arrival of spring and symbolizes the arrival of light and the awakening of life around us.


 

Ostara, Goddess of Spring and the Dawn (Oestre / Eastre)

Easter is named for a Saxon goddess who was known by the names of Oestre or Eastre, and in Germany by the name of Ostara. She is a goddess of the dawn and the spring, and her name derives from words for dawn, the shining light arising from the east. Our words for the “female hormone” estrogen derives from her name.

Ostara was, of course, a fertility goddess. Bringing in the end of winter, with the days brighter and growing longer after the vernal equinox, Ostara had a passion for new life. Her presence was felt in the flowering of plants and the birth of babies, both animal and human. The rabbit (well known for its propensity for rapid reproduction) was her sacred animal.

Easter eggs and the Easter Bunny both featured in the spring festivals of Ostara, which were initially held during the feasts of the goddess Ishtar | Inanna. Eggs are an obvious symbol of fertility, and the newborn chicks an adorable representation of new growth. Brightly colored eggs, chicks, and bunnies were all used at festival time to express appreciation for Ostara’s gift of abundance.


History of Easter Eggs and Easter Candy

The history of Easter Eggs as a symbol of new life should come as no surprise. The notion that the Earth itself was hatched from an egg was once widespread and appears in creation stories ranging from Asian to Ireland.

Eggs, in ancient times in Northern Europe, were a potent symbol of fertility and often used in rituals to guarantee a woman’s ability to bear children. To this day rural “grannywomen” (lay midwives/healers in the Appalachian mountains) still use eggs to predict, with uncanny accuracy, the sex of an unborn child by watching the rotation of an egg as it is suspended by a string over the abdomen of a pregnant woman.

Dyed eggs are given as gifts in many cultures. Decorated eggs bring with them a wish for the prosperity of the abundance during the coming year.

Folklore suggests that Easter egg hunts arose in Europe during “the Burning Times”, when the rise of Christianity led to the shunning (and persecution) of the followers of the “Old Religion”. Instead of giving the eggs as gifts the adults made a game of hiding them, gathering the children together and encouraging them to find the eggs. Some believe that the authorities seeking to find the “heathens” would follow or bribe the children to reveal where they found the eggs so that the property owner could be brought to justice.

Green Eggs . . .
. . . and Ham???

The meat that is traditionally associated with Easter is ham. Though some might argue that ham is served at Easter since it is a “Christian” meat, (prohibited for others by the religious laws of Judaism and Islam) the origin probably lies in the early practices of the pagans of Northern Europe.

Having slaughtered and preserved the meat of their agricultural animals during the Blood Moon celebrations the previous autumn so they would have food throughout the winter months, they would celebrate the occasion by using up the last of the remaining cured meats.

In anticipation that the arrival of spring with its emerging plants and wildlife would provide them with fresh food in abundance, it was customary for many pagans to begin fasting at the time of the vernal equinox, clearing the “poisons” (and excess weight) produced by the heavier winter meals that had been stored in their bodies over the winter. Some have suggested that the purpose of this fasting may have been to create a sought-after state of “altered consciousness” in time for the spring festivals. One cannot but wonder if this practice of fasting might have been a forerunner of “giving up” foods during the Lenten season.

Chocolate Easter bunnies and eggs, marshmallow chicks in pastel colors, and candy of all sorts . . . these have pagan origins as well! To understand their association with religion we need to examine the meaning of food as a symbol.

The ancient belief that, by eating something we take on its characteristics formed the basis for the earliest “blessings” before meals (a way to honor the life that had been sacrificed so that we as humans could enjoy life) and, presumably, for the more recent Christian sacrament of communion as well.

Shaping candy Easter eggs and bunnies out of candy to celebrate the spring festival was, simply put, a way to celebrate the symbols of the goddess and the season, while laying claim to their strengths (vitality, growth, and fertility) for ourselves.

 


The Goddess Ostara and the Easter Bunny

Feeling guilty about arriving late one spring, the Goddess Ostara saved the life of a poor bird whose wings had been frozen by the snow. She made him her pet or, as some versions have it, her lover. Filled with compassion for him since he could no longer fly (in some versions, it was because she wished to amuse a group of young children), Ostara turned him into a snow hare and gave him the gift of being able to run with incredible speed so he could protect himself from hunters.

In remembrance of his earlier form as a bird, she also gave him the ability to lay eggs (in all the colors of the rainbow, no less), but only on one day out of each year.

Eventually the hare managed to anger the goddess Ostara, and she cast him into the skies where he would remain as the constellation Lepus (The Hare) forever positioned under the feet of the constellation Orion (the Hunter). He was allowed to return to earth once each year, but only to give away his eggs to the children attending the Ostara festivals that were held each spring. The tradition of the Easter Bunny had begun.

Easter Bunny had begun.

The Hare was sacred in many ancient traditions and was associated with the moon goddesses and the various deities of the hunt. In ancient times eating the Hare was prohibited except at Beltane (Celts) and the festival of Ostara (Anglo-Saxons), when a ritual hare-hunt would take place.

In many cultures rabbits, like eggs, were considered to be potent remedies for fertility problems. The ancient philosopher-physician Pliny the Elder prescribed rabbit meat as a cure for female sterility, and in some cultures the genitals of a hare were carried to avert barrenness.

Medieval Christians considered the hare to bring bad fortune, saying witches changed into rabbits in order to suck the cows dry. It was claimed that a witch could only be killed by a silver crucifix or a bullet when she appeared as a hare.

Given their “mad” leaping and boxing displays during mating season as well as their ability to produce up to 42 offspring each spring, it is understandable that they came to represent lust, sexuality, and excess in general. Medieval Christians considered the hare to be an evil omen, believing that witches changed into rabbits in order to suck the cows dry. It was claimed that a witch could only be killed by a silver crucifix or a bullet when she appeared as a hare.

In later Christian tradition the white Hare, when depicted at the Virgin Mary’s feet, represents triumph over lust or the flesh. The rabbit’s vigilance and speed came to represent the need to flee from sin and temptation and a reminder of the swift passage of life.

And, finally, there is a sweet Christian legend about a young rabbit who, for three days, waited anxiously for his friend, Jesus, to return to the Garden of Gethsemane, not knowing what had become of him. Early on Easter morning, Jesus returned to His favorite garden and was welcomed the little rabbit. That evening when the disciples came into the garden to pray, still unaware of the resurrection, they found a clump of beautiful larkspurs, each blossom bearing the image of a rabbit in its center as a remembrance of the little creature’s hope and faith.

 

 


Ishtar, Goddess of Love, and the First Resurrection (also known as Inanna)

Ishtar, goddess of romance, procreation, and war in ancient Babylon, was also worshipped as the Sumerian goddess Inanna. One of the great goddesses, or “mother goddesses”, stories of her descent to the Underworld and the resurrection that follows are contained in the oldest writings that have ever been discovered. . . the Babylonian creation myth Enuma Elish and the story of Gilgamesh. Scholars believed that they were based on the oral mythology of the region and were recorded about 2,100 B.C.E.

The most famous of the myths of Ishtar tell of her descent into the realm of the dead to rescue her young lover, Tammuz, a Vegetation god forced to live half the year in the Underworld. Ishtar approached the gates of the Underworld, which was ruled by her twin sister Eresh-kigel, the goddess of death and infertility. She was refused admission.

Similar to the Greek myths of Demeter and Persephone that came later, during Ishtar’s absence the earth grew barren since all acts of procreation ceased while she was away. Ishtar screamed and ranted that she would break down the gates and release all of the dead to overwhelm the world and compete with the living for the remaining food unless she was allowed to enter and plead her case with her twin.

Needless to say, she won admission. But the guard, following standard protocol, refused to let her pass through the first gate unless she removed her crown. At the next gate, she had to remove her earrings, then her necklace at the next, removing her garments and proud finery until she stood humbled and naked after passing through the seventh (and last) gate.

In one version, she was held captive and died but was brought back to life when her servant sprinkled her with the “water of life”. In the more widely known version of the myth, Ishtar’s request was granted and she regained all of her attire and possessions as she slowly re-emerged through the gates of darkness.

Upon her return, Tammuz and the earth returned to life. Annual celebrations of this “Day of Joy”, were held each year around the time of the vernal equinox. These celebrations became the forerunners of the Ostara festivals that welcomed Oestre and the arrival of spring.

A section on the Goddess Inanna (the Sumerian version of the Goddess Ishtar), her myths and symbols, is included with the myths of the goddesses at this website.

 


Easter eggs, the Easter Bunny, the dawn that arrives with resurrection of life, and the celebration of spring all serve to remind us of the cycle of rebirth and the need for renewal in our lives. In the history of Easter, Christian and pagan traditions are gracefully interwoven.

Well Baby check-ups… what purpose does it serve?


This could possibly become controversial I suppose but here we go anyway.

My daughter has her 18 month Well-Baby Checkup tomorrow and I started contemplating the purpose of this visit.  My daughter is very healthy and is exceeding expectations in development in every catagory. I will be refusing vaccinations at this visit.  So, with that said, what is the purpose of these visits if your child is healthy and on track developmentally.

I have a background of social work, as most of my regular readers might know, so I am familiar with developmental milestones and proper care of a child.  I can understand the purpose of these checkups for those who feel the need to vaccinate and are not as familiar with how to gauge developmental milestones.   When my daughter was younger, I was eager to go to these appointments to see how much she grew and I did have a few questions early on but not so much anymore.  I can weigh my daughter and measure her at home just as well, if not better than the nurses have done thus far.  I have to say, I feel like I waste a lot of time in the waiting room and waiting in the office to see the doctor just to tell me everything I already know. 

I know I sound skeptical of medical care but I think I am to an extent.  I recently spent a lot of time chatting with a group of people who dont vaccinate and who dont utilize doctors for well-baby checkups.  I never asked if they use a naturopathic doctor or if they just skip the check ups all together.  I would be interested in feedback on this topic…just for more education and perspectives.

Teenage pregnancy…epidemic or not?


This morning on my way to work I was listening to the radio and the hosts were discussing teenage pregnancy as an epidemic. I believe they stated that there were 90 teenagers in one school (Memphis, Tennessee)  this school year.  The radio show hosts were debating on whether these teen mom shows on television were contributing to the “epidemic” or not.  The female host was stating how she is more intimidated to have children now that she has seen some of the episodes of these shows.  The male host was talking about how he has heard that many teenage girls see this as an opportunity to audition to these teen mom shows and earn rediculous amounts of money to have their own segments. 

I tend to see both sides of most arguments so it can be challenging for me to have a strong opinions depending onthe subject.  I have personal experience as a mother (new mom at 27 years…almost 28), personal experience with friends who were teen moms, a sister who became a mom at 21, and experience working with teen moms as a social worker.  So, I have seen many differing viewpoints and situations. 

I have to say, I absolutely disagree with the exploitation of these teen moms on the television shows, not to mention the exploitation of their innocent newborns.  You cant even walk through a grocery store checkout lane without seeing a tabloid published about these youngsters and their problems.  If it werent for the tabloids, I wouldnt know who these girls were.  I think the temptation for these girls in trouble to put their name out there and earn boat loads of money for a television series is extremely tempting especially if they dont have a lot of earning potential (who does at 16?).  I dont think they can comprehend the challenges that comes with fame, let alone parenting. 

Speaking of parenting, I dont even think these teenagers are thinking about how they plan to parent these teenagers other than possibly financially supporting them with their fame.  My worries vary from whether I allow too much television during the day, what songs and books are appropriate for my daughters age, language used around her, appropriate toys, influences of the people around her…whether my parenting techniques are up to par…any Im a social worker by trade.   These young girls dont have a clue how difficult it is to be a new parent.  As an adult, I struggle to ask for help when I need it and when give in and ask, I feel guilty for feeling the need to have help.  If you cant support yourself you should not be having children. Okay, so I guess I have an opinion…

With that said, I do think that teenagers who are choosing to become parents, whether the pregnancy was planned or unplanned must be treated as adults with dignity and offered solutions to help them make better informed decisions.  Just because they may make decisions that arent completely rational – remember teenagers brains are still forming and developing the reasoning portion – doesnt mean that we should condemn them to an eternal state of irresponsibility.  They can make good decisions with the right support system. 

I had another point to mention regarding planned and unplanned pregnancies.  While I think it is slightly resourceful (I still dont like it) for these girls to seek income opportunities when they are faced with an unplanned pregnancy, it is completely irresponsible for them to plan the pregnancy in order to become famous and be on one of the teen mom shows.  First of all, there is a limited number of positions that any television company is going to hire to be on the show and even if you apply for the show, it doesnt guarantee a position.  And, hello girls, there are 90 teens  in one school…have you heard of competition.  Whew!  Apparently I have a strong opinion.  I just really wish these girls would know the consequences of their actions and realize that they are completely giving up the freedom that comes with your younger years.  Once you have a child, your life should be devoted to nurturing that babe and making sure that you do everything in your power to reasonably and safely provide a healthy environment.  With that said, I will put this topic to rest. 

I hope I stirred some emotions and possibly some thoughts.  I do want to end with a clause – I think people are resilient and can bounce back from any obstacle in life (good or bad) and can create opportunities in life to provide healthy environments for their children.  I dont want to demonize teen pregnancy because some teens can be very responsible, it’s the piece of irresponsibility that really triggers me to be so passionate to advocate for children…okay, Im done.

Raising a Spiritual Child: Spirituality vs. Religion


If you have stumbled upon any of my previous blogs you have noticed by now that I do not fit the “traditional religious” person but maybe you have noticed a hint of my spiritual side.  I find this time of year very difficult because it seems as though other people are ready to pounce and judge your relgious or non-religious preferences based on their viewpoints of this holiday season.  I try to use a mantra confirming that “those who judge are not ready to accept my view” or something to that effect, mostly to keep me sane.  This year has been especially difficult for me but I found a very interesting article in the “Parenting” magazing entitled “Beyond Belief Raising a Spiritual Kid” by Teri Cettina.   This article came at a great time, I wish I would have opened my magazine a little earlier but still good timing for me.  Check it out at http://www.parenting.com/article/teach-spirituality-kids

My daughter ripped out the second page but there was a subtitle or a headline to the effect of: a guide for modern parents and how to answer tough questions

Bravo Parenting Magazine!

A New Adventure update!


I found this resource from www.CAPPA.net

and I love their vision and their passion for supporting women and families.  I think their vision is the essence of what the resource group we are trying to form in Northern Michigan is what we picture for ourselves, in one form or another.  We have identified HUGE gaps in resources for expecting families and we are hoping to address as much as we can to provide support to anyone who is interested.  From childbirth to parenting…and so on.

The CAPPA Vision

Imagine a world…

Where women are encouraged to trust their bodies, and where myths about childbirth and breastfeeding are dispelled.

Imagine a world…

Where women are given the tools they need to make informed decisions about their pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and postpartum experiences.

Imagine a world…

Where education does not involve guilt but seeks to empower.

Imagine a world…

Where women are surrounded by caring, compassionate support throughout the childbearing year.

Imagine a world…

Where new mothers are equipped to embrace pregnancy, birth, and motherhood with confidence.

Imagine an organization …

That volunteers every day to make this a reality.

CAPPA – reality begins with imagination.

Techniques That Really Work

Families need to be taught that although labor is painful, there are ways to deal with this pain aside from medications. We generally encourage deep, abdominal breathing during labor. Many agree that patterned breathing techniques are not as effective as once believed. They often lead to hyperventilation, frustration on the part of the woman doing them and confusion. In some situations, however, women use them effectively and we feel they are definitely worthy of being somewhere in the laboring woman’s bag of tricks. If a woman wants a natural birth, it is our responsibility to give her many techniques and help her practice them, so that when the time comes, if one thing fails she can easily try something else. Primarily, relaxation is vital if a woman is to achieve a natural birth. Coaches should be taught to recognize relaxation versus tension and how to bring the mother into a relaxed state with an emphasis on calm breathing. Women should also be taught that there is no shame in vocalization throughout birth and that this is something that many women find useful. There are benefits to changing positions, frequent urination, walking, hydrotherapy, rocking and sitting on the toilet. Different positions for pushing should be addressed. The philosophy of childbirth educators and doulas should be that “anything goes” when it comes to getting through labor as long at it is safe for the mother and baby and it is helpful to her. There is no “right way” to breathe, labor or give birth.

Homebirth

Women have the right to choose where they give birth, whether at home, at a birthing center or in the hospital, and we should uphold their right to do so. Every place of birth has its own risks and benefits and we should not discourage a mother from birthing wherever and with whomever she feels safest. We do, however, feel that birth should be attended by a knowledgeable birth attendant, and we will not encourage unattended or “Zion” birth.

Buddhism at Christmas time


FYI – I do not claim any religion as my own.  I have various beliefs taken from several religions and have encorporated them into my daily lifestyle.  I believe that I will always be refining my values and beliefs and that everyone is a work in progress. 

I liked this article from www.purifymind.com/ChristmasTime.htm
because my parents have always given me a hard time about why I love the christmas holiday but do not participate with the Catholic religion as I was raised.  Please keep an open mind.

Buddhism at Christmastime


An Essay by George Boeree


When people find out that I’m a Buddhist, they always have these cute little questions like, “Do you celebrate Christmas?” Well, I’ve always loved Christmas a lot, so the question kinda throws me every time.

First, they make the mistake of assuming that Christmas is a purely Christian holiday, and of course it’s not: It has roots in the winter solstice celebration common to northern people, and many other roots. Christmas trees, holly branches, mistletoe, candles, feasts, gift-giving — all are older than Christmas “proper.”
Some will point out “it IS called Christmas, you know!” I (playfully!) point out that Easter is named after Eostre, goddess of the dawn (the east)! I do get some pretty dirty looks.
Santa Claus is a particular favorite of mine. He derives from the Christian Saint Nicholas, of course, but he’s slowly become a more archetypal creature. It strikes me that he bears an uncanny resemblance to Pu Tai (Hotei in Japanese), the cheerful fat monk with the big hemp sack full of gifts for children. He is considered to be an incarnation of Maitreya, the future Buddha.
I have a little statue of him on a table next to my favorite chair, and he smiles at the various Santas on my Christmas tree — and they smile back!
Some people ask me why I let my kids believe in Santa, only to disillusion them later. But I think Santa is actually for the adults, teaching us unselfish, anonymous generosity!
Even the nativity is a wonderful story. I see it more as myth than reality (the same way I view most Buddhist stories) but it touches me anyway. Beyond all the centuries of accumulated superstition, Jesus seems to have been another enlightened being, serving a different people in a different time.
The nativity story is like a parable that illustrates the wisdom of such expressions as “the meek shall inherit the earth.” That’s always sounded so “Buddhist” to me — I wonder if there is a parallel in the sutras?
Mary particularly touches me (though, raised a Protestant, I was taught not to “over-value” her like Catholics do!). She has a nice counterpoint in Kuan Yin (Kwannon, or Avalokiteshwara) in his/her feminine aspect: She, too, hears the sorrows of the world. Buddhism, like Christianity, comes out of a male-dominated culture, and both need that feminine touch!
Really, what could be more “Buddhist” than a holiday that celebrates giving, compassion, and human warmth! Here’s a little “present” for you, a quote from a 16th century Italian monk:
I salute you! There is nothing I can give you which you have not;
but there is much, that, while I cannot give, you can take.

No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today.
Take Heaven.

No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present instant.
Take Peace.

The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet within our reach, is joy.
Take Joy.

And so, at this Christmas time, I greet you, with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.
–Fra Giovanni, 1513
Quoted in Tasha Tudor’s “Take Joy! The Tasha Tudor Christmas Book” (Cleveland: Collins World, 1966).
Have a Merry Christmas, all of you, and a Happy New Year!

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