Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy Solstice, Happy St. Thomas Day

So we all apparently survived the apocalypse

unless you are one of those cheerful people who believe that this life actually is hell and we're all post-apocalyptic. (Wow, did I spell that one right?) Not me. 

Surviving the apocalypse means we are all free to celebrate one of the hallmarks of life in Canada - winter solstice.

Surviving the shortest day of the year gives hope, as the daylight period gradually gets longer, that we will indeed survive the winter. There was a time, even in my life, when that was the slim straw we held onto to keep sane through the deathly cold and episodes of cabin fever.

When you have time and a bottle of rye, let me tell you about -54C in a log house on a northern homestead housebound with small children. (No exaggeration - I have photos of the thermometer to prove it.)

I recently learned that 1100 years ago, December 21 was dedicated to St. Thomas of India.

I'm not Catholic but I've been known to hang out with a few of them in my time (one's even a monseigneur now!) so I'm well aware of Saint's Days and Saint's medals, la la la la.

St. Thomas is sort of at the front of my cerebral cortex because of these two very odd and unusual books I've been reading lately:

I'm half way through the second one and finding it every bit as challenging as the first but still very entertaining. They are rooted in the legends of St. Thomas of India and Prester John. If you don't know, or are only vaguely familiar with Prestor John, I recommend a quick primer lesson with a wiki search; there's also a Prestor John website. 

The narration in these stories takes place in the 1500's when a delegation of monks is on the hunt for the truth of the Prestor John story. The challenge comes in the four or five points of view that tell the story in alternating voices and at different points in time, but it's a rich amazing world.

So back to St. Thomas - the story claims that John of Constantinople was looking for St. Thomas, and the saint does appear in the story though not in a form that you'd ever hear about in Sunday School.

Cool stuff.

This morning on the way to work, the less-commonly-broadcasted carols were - thankfully - being aired. One of them was Good King Wenceslas. I always like the carol but disliked singing it because it has SO MANY VERSES. It goes on and on and on.

But of course the good king went out on the Feast of Stephen. And even I, a non-Catholic, know that is December 26 ... a day when the snow is deep and crisp and even. Sorry. Couldn't resist.

Funny how a day can develop a 'theme', something I've commented on before. Today I seem to be innundated with all things Saints.

Given how things have gone the past few weeks, I need all the help I can get thank you very much.

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