Tuesday, December 30, 2008

An LSB Curiosity

Surely Lutherans would all agree that Christmas and Epiphany are important feasts of the Church Year, and that they are immovable. That is, they are on the same date each year, no matter on what day of the week they may fall. Therefore, I would expect to see them on the list of Feasts and Festivals on page xi of Lutheran Service Book. Yet they are not there. Of course it might be pointed out that most people already know that Christmas and Epiphany are on 25 December and 6 January respectively. Nevertheless, they ought to be included on that calendar, for at least two reasons. 1. Even though their popularity might make their dates well known, their importance also makes them at least as deserving, just by the nature of their solemnity, as feasts like Sts. Simon & Jude and Matthias. 2. If we want this book to actually be a teaching resource, for our children, for everyone, then it would be helpful to be as complete and accurate as possible in things like this. So why leave them out?


William Weedon said...

Not odd, though, when you recall that these "Feasts and Festivals" used to be called "The Minor Festivals" or some such. The Sundays and Seasons on the other page (x) lists out the major, first class I suppose they might be called, observances.

Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

Okay, I'll buy that, Fr. Weedon. But even on page x I suppose my bigger point is that, since these two feasts are immovable, they should be listed with their dates. Again, I acknowledge that it may seem like a tiny, unnecessary thing, since we all know the date of such important feasts.

And while most people do know the date of Christmas, I'm not so sure that's the case for Epiphany. If someone were pick up the LSB and study it in order to learn the Church Year, would he conclude that Epiphany is on a Sunday? or have any way of discerning when it does occur?

And even with Christmas, we all may know it's on the 25th of Dec., but as I say, just for the sake of accuracy and thoroughness, such a thing should be spelled out in a section devoted to the Church Year. A hundred years from now someone should not be confused when looking at this as to when and how we celebrated Christmas.

Past Elder said...

It won't take a hundred years. It already happened to me.

As you most likely know, Epiphany is no longer a fixed feast according to the bloody Romans and their novus ordo, and when I first got my LSB, when I went to see if we had gone panting after this bit of Vatican II For Lutherans too, I couldn't tell, because it doesn't say when Epiphany is!

We do it for secular calendars, so why not sacred. I mean, everyone knows the fourth of July is the Fourth of July, but we put a big flag on the day anyway!

William Weedon said...


The parish I serve had the tradition long before Vatican II, I believe, of observing Epiphany as the 2nd Sunday after Christmas unless the 6th itself fell on a Sunday. It's what I inherited here and, well, I've had other fish to fry, so to speak, and have never tried to move the day.

But what really stinks - worse than the day being transferred - are the hymns that are expected that day. I detest "Brightest and Best" and "As With Gladness." Sigh. Well, at least Morning Star makes up for singing the others!