Scary, lonely, or romantic?
Well, most of the time it’s just plain weird. Please don’t try to kiss me if I’m unknowingly standing under a piece of greenery hanging from a door jam. However, if you are my love, and I am intentionally positioned under the little green and red bunch, then by all means, grab a kiss, baby!
What is it about the Christmas season that makes it so romantic? Should we blame Hallmark?! The reason for the season is Jesus being born…but not like the easy and pretty versions of the story. No, first of all, giving birth is, well, not pretty. Second, he was born in a smelly, dirty barn and laid in a feeding trough! GROSS! So how did the celebration of the birth of Jesus come to be associated with romance and kissing?!
I really have no answer to this question. But I thought I would do a bit of research on the tradition of mistletoe. Here are some of my findings:
- It’s a parasitic plant that grows on trees and shrubs, and can be found all around the world.
- Mistletoe pops up in many ancient mythical traditions and customs that span place and time.
- It has been linked to fertility, protection against evil spirits, healing powers, peace, good fortune, and romance.
And here’s where it gets even weirder
The name mistletoe comes from two Anglo Saxon words ‘Mistel’ meaning dung, and ‘tan’ meaning twig or stick! That means that we could actually translate Mistletoe as ‘poop stick’!
So, how did the poop stick weasel it’s way into Christmas?
It was a Nordic myth that first associated mistletoe with kissing, and from there an English tradition was born. The custom was that a gentleman would pluck a white berry from the hanging bunch and kiss a lady on the cheek. As long as there were berries left, kisses could happen. No more berries, no more kisses. But there would be drama if a lady refused a kiss, her punishment could be no marriage proposals for at least a year! That certainly wouldn’t fly today!
I am not sure how the Christmas season became associated with romance, but what makes my heart flutter this time of year is Jesus’ quest for love. The romantic version of this story is that he sought you out. He saw us in our misery – hopeless and alone. He battled the elements and humbled himself to the lowest. He left it all to enter into the world. He gave it up for you. You were worth it. He had one goal, to bring you into his love and into the arms of the Father. You and I are the bride of Christ. He did it all so that we may be spotless and worthy.
This season is about so much more than the birth of a baby, it’s about the victory of love.
May you be filled with the love and romance of heaven this Christmas! And may you get a kiss under the poop stick – but only if you want one!
Joy Bringer’s Advent