Monday, 31 December 2012

Every Night is Watch Night

So it is New Year's Eve.

This is my and Mark's seventh together as a couple.
The first, spend in California with family, in our room.
And while they is one night we performed at a Talent Show on 31th of December, we have pretty much stuck to the tradition of sleeping in and watching Twight Zone all day.
But before I even met Mark, I had stopped the celebrating of New Years, even the going to Watch Night Services.
OK, let me guess; Pagan.
Why yes! how did you know?
In early times, the ancient Romans gave each other New Year’s gifts of branches from sacred trees. In later years, they gave gold-covered nuts or coins imprinted with pictures of Janus, the god of gates, doors, and beginnings. January was named after Janus, who had two faces—one looking forward and the other looking backward” (World Book, 2001).
 46 B.C.E. the Roman emperor Julius Caesar first established January 1 as New Year’s day. Janus  was the Roman god of doors and gates, and had two faces, one looking forward and one back. Caesar felt that the month named after this god “January”would be the appropriate “door” to the year. Caesar celebrated the first January 1 New Year by ordering the violent routing of revolutionary Jewish forces in the Galilee. Eyewitnesses say blood flowed in the streets. In later years, Roman pagans observed the New Year by engaging in drunken orgies—a ritual they believed constituted a personal re-enacting of the chaotic world that existed before the cosmos was ordered by the gods.
The Jews and early followers did not celebrate the New Year in January, but kept the Feast of the L-rd, Rosh Ha Shanna.
That all end when the Church of Rome and the Roman Empire married.
As Christianity cut itself off from its Hebrew roots and began to spread, pagan holidays were either incorporated into the Christian calendar or abandoned altogether.
So  by the early medieval period most of Christian Europe regarded Annunciation Day (March 25) as the beginning of the year. This was suppose to be the day Gabriel  appeared to Mary....
After  “William of Normandy” became King of England on December 25, 1066, he decreed that the English return to the date established by the Roman pagans, January 1. This move ensured that the commemoration of Jesus’ birthday (December 25) would align with William’s coronation commemoration of Jesus’ circumcision (January 1)
 New Years Day 1577 Pope Gregory XIII decreed that all Roman Jews, under the pain of death, must listen attentively to the compulsory Catholic conversion sermon given in Roman synagogues after Friday night services. 
 New Years Day 1578 Gregory signed into law a tax forcing Jews to pay for the support of a “House of Conversion” to convert Jews to Christianity. 
 New Years 1581 Gregory ordered his troops to confiscate all sacred literature from the Roman Jewish community. Thousands of Jews were murdered in the campaign.
Throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods, January 1 - supposedly the day on which Jesus’ circumcision initiated the reign of Christianity and the death of Judaism.
Sad, but true.
Most of my life, I attended Watch Night Services ("therefore watch and wait for you never know when the Son of G-d will appear")
To watch and wait applies to the Jewish bride, waiting for her bridegroom. Her wedding attire was laid out, she never walked out of her home without her veil. She remained busy, preparing for her new home, still helping her mother with the housework, until her bridegroom arrived.
The light in her window remain lit; until her bridegroom arrived.
That is what it means to watch and wait. Not as a religious duty, but for the One your soul loves.
One day, the Messiah appear.
I don't know when; but He will find me waiting.
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