Sixth Day of Christmas: New Year’s Eve, Eggs, and . . .

. . . and two very impressive people in the early days of Christianity, Sylvester and Melania the Younger.

New Year’s Eve is, well, New Year’s Eve. ‘Nuff said.  If you are Kiribati or Samoan, you are the first people in the world to welcome the New Year. If you’re Hawaiian, you’re the last.

Today, however, the Beloved gets what could be a lifetime supply of eggs from his or her True Love: “six geese a-laying.”

There are a lot of different kinds of geese, and a fair number of imposters, so one should inquire a little further about this gift. Since they are “a-laying,” presumably they are domestic geese. This is a really nice gift, if you have the kind of property and interest (and patience!) to take care of them. A domestic goose will lay up to 50 eggs a year, each weighing 4-6 ounces. Perhaps you could open an omelette restaurant. They are noisy, fussy, and aggressive, however, so you will need tolerant (or distant) neighbors. But they make good watchdogs. . . uhm, watchgeese.

While we’re at it, Mother Goose has a fascinating story, and Ravel wrote some nifty Mother Goose music (here in a classic, historic recording).

Also, a classic local beer might be a good alternative to Champagne tonight, if you can find it. I had never heard of it or “The Bruery” until I just stumbled across the site courtesy of Google.

The religious meaning of the Six Geese A-Laying is the six days of creation. Seems appropriate as life comes forth from the creative activity of God.

Today is the feast of St. Sylvester and St. Melania the Younger.

Sylvester was the Bishop Rome from 314 to 335, a lengthy 21 year pontificate.  He began the year after Emperor Constantine gave Christians freedom of worship with the Edict of Milan, and he was very much a part of the Council of Nicaea in 325, through legates even though not able to to attend personally. He’s a pivotal figure in the making of who and what we are as Christians in a fascinating period of history.

About a hundred years later, one of the wealthiest and most influential women in the early Church, St. Melania the Younger, (see here and here too) gave up her extensive land holdings, and used her remaining money and position to travel with her supportive and dedicated  husband all through the Roman Empire supporting monasteries, scholars, and works for the poor. She’s not as well known as she should be. She would be even less known if it were not for a life written by her her disciple-biographer, Gerontius, annotated and published in the early 20th century by Cardinal Rampolla, himself a very signifiant figure in early 20th century Catholicism.

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Author: tomwelbers

I have been a Catholic priest for nearly fifty years, most of that time serving in parish and college campus ministry. I also have professional degrees in theology and liturgy, as well as institutional management, and continue avidly to explore pastoral theology, Scripture, liturgy, ecumenical and interfaith relations, and spiritual direction. I have a passion for sharing insight into our Christian heritage through teaching, writing, and leading pilgrimages, especially to Early Christian World sites in Turkey. Now actively retired from parish ministry, I live at Nazareth House in Los Angeles.

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