Tupelo Masonic Lodge No. 318 F&AM - Forum

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Monday, December 31, 2012



Bro. P.D. Newman, 32°

Valley of Corinth, Orient of MS (A.&A.S.R., S.J.)

   The Christmas season is a very special time – one of coming together. For our Jewish Brethren, it is the festival of Chanukkah, which celebrates the rebellion of the Maccabees and, according to the Talmud, recalls the purification of the Temple during which time the many wicks of the menorah are said to have miraculously burned for eight whole days and nights on a ration of holy oil which otherwise would have lasted but a single day. For our Muslim Brethren, the Christmas season signifies Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, during which period Muslims believe that the first portions of the Quran were dictated to the prophet Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel. And of course, for us Christians, the Christmas season celebrates the miraculous birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, from a virgin mother within a humble stable in the town of Bethlehem; a Savior who, after a mere thirty-three and one quarter years of preaching and spreading his ministry, was suffered to die upon a Roman cross, only to rise from the grave three short days later that he might ascend to His Father’s House, and there prepare a place for all of those inclined to accept and embody his powerful message of love and forgiveness.

   Less well known, perhaps, is the role which the Christmas season plays for our Pagan Brethren, among whom even our very own Hiram, King of Tyre and Grand Master Hiram Abiff would have inevitably been counted. Paganism is an oftentimes misunderstood umbrella term which refers to any religion that is not descended from the Abrahamic tradition; that is to say, any religion that is outside of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Therefore, the traditional religions of Sumer, Chaldea, and Egypt, for example, would fall under the category of Pagan beliefs.

   The significance of the Christmas season for Pagans, and indeed the suspected root of all winter holidays, is an astrological one. For them, it commemorates the time during which the light and life-giving rays of our sun are at their annual weak point. The winter solstice, occurring on December 21, is the moment at which the sun reaches its lowest point on the horizon and remains in that demoted position day after day, unable to climb any higher, for a total of seventy-two hours. Following these three days of bleakness, however, on the morning of December 25, the sun miraculously begins its resurrection-like ascent back into the arching heavens, and thence sends its golden rays back to our little world, thereby warming the barren soil in preparation for the coming year’s crops and flora. The Greeks and Romans celebrated this remarkable day as Dies de Natalis Sol Invicti, or the Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun; the day on which our central star, like the mythical phoenix bird of Alchemical lore, is reborn from its own cyclical demise.

   Indeed, the Christmas season is a very special time – one of coming together. So, whether you happen to ascribe to the faith of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, or even Paganism, the Christmas season is one during which all Masons have an ideal opportunity to come together as Brothers and celebrate something which truly unites us, as opposed to focusing a thing which would otherwise set us apart. For, just as we were all Raised at the same non-sectarian altar of Freemasonry, so are we also united as a universal brotherhood of man under the Fatherhood of an ever watchful eye of God, and that will remain true regardless of the titles by which each religion chooses to address Him. As Ill.Bro. Albert Pike explains in the lecture he penned for the Rose-Croix Degree, one of the primary duties of a Scottish Rite Mason is to “Be tolerant of the faith and creed of others, [for] tolerance is not simply a duty, but an inescapable conclusion.” (M&D) Therefore, in addition to the lessons of charity and giving which every gift-imparting Christmas so thoroughly teaches, this season let us make the most of this grand opportunity to celebrate and learn another vital and indispensible lesson of Masonic relevance: the loving lesson of religious tolerance – a lesson which can be discerned within the very pages of the Volume of the Sacred Law itself, wherein we are charged by the saint and apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Romans to “Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another.” (Rom. 12:10)

Thank you, Ladies and Brethren, and I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas season!

Tupelo Masonic Lodge No. 318 F&AM
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