Regardless of religious inclinations, the Christmas season often serves as a period of reflection. As the temperature drops and snow falls, we seek warmth within our homes, and we turn within ourselves to contemplate our place in this world. This is the tie that binds all the stories in this collection together: the search for meann in our everydy lives, as well as the true nature and spirit of the holiday season.
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Hanging of the Greens and Advent services - the spiritual prelude to the Christmas season without consumer overtones. Both services celebrate customs and traditions of the past with decorations from nature.
For centuries, our ancestors decked their halls with the hanging of the greens, but for very different reasons than churches of today. Long ago, cultures like the Druids, Celts, Norse, and Romans celebrated Saturnalia or the winter solstice around December 21. As the days became shorter and the longest night of the year approached, their fears that the sun might not return were roused. To entice the sun god to continue its gifts of warmth and light, they created rituals and celebrations with huge bonfires and riotous revelry. They noticed that some plants remained green throughout the year. So they brought these plants, like holly and evergreens, into their homes as lucky charms to guarantee the return of greenery and growth in the spring.