I am currently rewarding my ears with the sweet sounds of Weezer Christmas, and as they melodically (and with much distortion) work their way from the divine Holy Night to sweet Noels, it occurred to me that surely the joy of the season can be shared with a little bit of festive wine. But wait, how can wine be associated with Christmas? It is, first and foremost, a religious holiday. Many people will say that the miracle of Cana, turning water to wine, is all the justification needed to add drinking to any occasion. I believe this attitude misses the entire point of the miracle and I will not attempt to justify drinking as something Biblically promoted. Instead, I will briefly give my reasoning for associating holidays with writings about making and drinking wine. I find this necessary because knowing me and my love for all things Christmas, there will be many, many posts related to it in the next month and years to come.
I like to think that the enjoyment of wine during holiday merriment is all about family togetherness and moderation. As we (unfortunately) discovered during our fall harvest; fermentation happens naturally as grapes are punctured on the vine and the yeast in the air and on the skin mixes with the exposed sugary juice, and the grape to wine process starts with or without the help of the eager vintner. This reminds me of a quote from Martin Luther we cited long ago, “Beer is made by men, but wine by God”. Like anything else that can become a vice if taken to the extreme, wine is a gift that we should treat with respect.
I have memories of wine being enjoyed with turkey at Thanksgiving, with sugar cookies at Christmas, and even with some ham at Easter. Indeed, wine is served without much notice in even our most religious holidays, and when I look around at the good cheer, Psalm 104 comes to mind: that wine truly does make glad the heart of man. If you remove the extremes (total avoidance and total abuse), you can land in a lovely middle ground of a delightful wine experience that brings people together and is only enhanced by the usual holiday feast.
My mind takes me to quaint homes all over Stover, filled with my grandparents and their siblings and all of their children, cheerfully enjoying lots of food and a little wine. Those earlier generations are the old guard of Christian living, formed during simpler times when morals were different and priorities were in the right order. I have never had to look any further for role-models on how it should be done. These people have been humble, self-sacrificing, filled with humility, and every bit the definition of a pure heart…. and they all gladly served wine at our get-togethers. Nobody gets out of hand and the laughter is the kind only brought on by being with the people you love during the most wonderful times of the year.
If you agree or simply agree to disagree, know that for some people and some families; it works. Wine can be combined with a holiday celebration and it’s not sacrilegious. Just like the first miracle at the wedding in Cana and the intent of that sign, this point is true as long as the purpose of the holiday is not lost. Enjoy your wine, the people, and the merriment; but remember, our joy of Christmas is solely due to the birth of a baby, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross.