The task of compiling these readings was sometimes too much for the compiler, so he pulled this Holinshed excerpt out of thin air and hoped that it would describe Christmas in England in 1577. Instead it describes the C of E post-Reformation:
As for our churches themselves, bells and times of morning and evening prayer remain as in times past, saving that all images, shrines, tabernacles, rood-lofts, and monuments of idolatry are removed, taken down, and defaced, only the stories in glass windows excepted...Which are going to be replaced by attrition. There's also this description of churchmen under popery that I liked:
For, if you peruse well my Chronology ensuing, you shall find that they went either in divers colours like players, or in garments of light hue, as yellow, red, green, etc., with their shoes piked, their hair crisped, their girdles armed with silver, their shoes, spurs, bridles, etc., buckled with liek metal, their apparel (for the most part) of silk, and richly, their caps lacede and buttoned with gold, so that to meet a priest in those days was to behold a peacock that spreadeth his tail when he danceth before the hen, which noew (I say) is well reformed.Inequality is more colorful than equality -- just look at the ads in the Sunday Times Magazine if you don't believe me. But the melancholy thought that this reading leaves the believer (or those of us who are belief-adjacent) is this:
...and, in like sort, what officers, widows, and other persons were daily maintained in those seasons by the offerings and oblations of the faithful it is incredible to be reported, if we compare the same with the decays and oblations seen and practised at this present. But what is that in all the world which avarice and negligence will not corrupt and impair?Italics added, with a Gallic shrug. On the other hand, Jesus knew it was a fallen world when he got mixed up in it. In a way, he's really got no one to blame but Himself for his pains.
And since I'm being so irreverent and all, I leave you with this Smigel joint that popped into my head when I was listening to one of my favorite Christmas albums, "A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector":
I gotta take my bread out of the oven! Merry happy, everyone!
Photo of babka by flickr user roboppy used with a Creative Commons license.