Plough Monday

January 7, 2002
by Alex Bisset

In the course of my work, I regularly come across little snippets about life in years gone by which are totally useless, except perhaps as bits of party trivia. However, I recently discovered something that I found quite interesting.

Apparently the Monday after Epiphany was once identified as Plough Monday in England, because it was the day on which spring ploughing began, and men had to get back to their normal routine of farm work again.

The day after Epiphany was also facetiously called St. Distaff's Day in some parts of England. A distaff is a part of a spinning wheel, and this day was so called because it was the day that the women stopped behaving in holiday mode and went back to their usual occupations, represented by spinning.

In both cases the message is the same: the holidays are over, and it is time to go back to work. In the part of Canada that I live in, our children are going back to school today. Many of us will be back at our places of employment today, ready (or not ready!) to get down to business once more.

But even though the holidays are over, and even though we have packed up the Christmas gear for another eleven months or so, Christmas should still be with us. Jesus does not get packed away with the ornaments. We can't put the manger and the baby away and forget about them. If what we've heard and said and done over the past few weeks has any meaning in our lives at all, then the message of Christmas needs to be something that we keep thinking about all year long.

As we return to our daily routine, be it ploughing, or spinning, or studying, or sitting at a desk, or driving a truck, or teaching, or making a home, or whatever our own particular daily routine may be, let us reflect on the message of Christmas, and keep that message alive in our hearts until Christmas comes round once more.

Luke 2:19 – But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. (NRSV)

Prayer: God of love, we thank you for the gift that you have given to us this Christmas. May this gift, your only son, be present in our hearts and minds at all times as we move through your world from day to day. May we, like Mary, continue to ponder your words and your deeds in our hearts. For we ask it in the name of your son, our Lord. Amen.

About the author:

Alex Bisset <>
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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