Tonight marks the end of Christmastide. The Ghost of Christmas Present lives through midnight this evening, so may the spirit of the season still be with you. Tonight we feast. The decorations have all been left up, the lights are all on. We gather together to spread merriment and cheer.
It's a time to eat king cakes and rum cakes, and to drink wassail. It's also a time for the upending of the normal. Where the Lord of Misrule enjoys one last night of his reign, calling for songs, entertainment, and plays. Servants often dressed up as their masters, men as women and so forth.
It's this atmosphere Shakespeare captured in Twelfth Night, or What You Will. A comedy of errors and misunderstanding. Of mistaken identities. It's a celebration of love and joy and a fitting end to this holiday season.
"If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall:
O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet south,
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more:
'Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
O spirit of love! how quick and fresh art thou,
That, notwithstanding thy capacity 10
Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,
Of what validity and pitch soe'er,
But falls into abatement and low price,
Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy
That it alone is high fantastical."
I pray this Christmastide has been a joyous season for you, that these Twelve Days of Christmas has been full of love and laughter, of exceeding great joy, and this new year has started well for you. May it continue in the days ahead.
And to you your wassail too;
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year
And God send you a Happy New Year."