Advent stories and messages from around the world
“Bûche de Noël” – Yule Log
December 16, 2021
Luke 2:4-7; Matthew 6:25-34
Have you ever had a “Bûche de Noël”? It’s a delicious French pastry usually made during the Christmas season. It is made with sponge cake, and whipped cream rolled into a log. It is then decorated with chocolate and made to look like a Yule Log.
What? Did I just hear someone say, “What’s a Yule Log?” I’m so glad you asked. 😊
The history of the Yule Log goes back centuries. It was originally a Nordic tradition. Yule is actually the name of the Winter Solstice festivals held in Scandinavia and northern Europe.
Many people don’t know that the Yule Log was originally a complete tree. The tree was brought into the home. The large end was placed in the hearth while the rest of the tree lay in the room. The tree was slowly fed into the fire through the twelve days of Christmas.
In France, it’s traditional for the entire family to cut the log down, and a bit of it is burnt each night.
In some regions of England, some families have large bunches of Ash twigs instead of a log. This is done based on the Legend that Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus were very cold when the shepherds found them on that first Christmas night. So, the shepherds got some bunches of twigs and started a fire to keep them warm.
Finally, in Ireland, some families use a large candle instead of a log and light it only on New Year’s Eve and the 12 nights of Christmas.
(Excerpts taken from whyChristmas.com)
I guess my favorite Yule Log is the one I get to eat. Let’s face it, it’s chocolate cake, with whipped cream and then more chocolate on top of that. How can one resist?
Did you pick up on the tradition in some regions of England where people burn twigs? The custom says that the shepherds burned twigs to keep the Holy family warm that night.
There’s been controversy as to what month Jesus was actually born for as long as I can remember. For argument, let’s say Jesus was born in Jerusalem in December. The average temperature there is 56 during the day and 47 at night.
With that in mind, read the passage below from Luke.
“So, Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register with Mary, who was betrothed to him and was with child. While they were there [in Bethlehem], the time came for her to give birth, and she gave birth to her Son, her Firstborn; and she wrapped Him in [This was customary among the Jews and quite comfortable and protective for the baby. Wrapping the baby in strips of cloth was intended to strengthen the back and bones for good growth. Swaddling] cloths and laid Him in a, I.e., feeding trough for animals. manger, because there was no [private] room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:4-7 AMP
So there’s no room for them at the inn, and Mary wraps the baby Jesus in the traditional swaddling cloth. Then she lays the baby in a feeding trough. The manger/feeding trough lends to the belief that Mary gave birth to Jesus in some sort of a stable.
We actually know very little about Jesus’s birth, just a few paragraphs in Luke and even less in the other Gospels. Would Joseph have started a fire to keep them warm?
In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us not to worry about our basic needs; those will be taken care of; instead, we should seek to be righteous in the sight of God. One must believe that Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus’ needs were met that night. Perhaps it was a fire or warm blankets they had or were given to them by the shepherds.
Remember, God provides for our needs as well:
“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you, by worrying, add a single hour to your life6:27 Or single cubit to your height?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet, I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34
Yes, we will have troubles in our lives. For example, Joseph and Mary were probably distraught on that night because they did not have a proper place for their child to come into the world. But they had faith that God would provide, and He did.
God will always provide for our most basic needs. So put your problems and worries into His hands, and He will furnish an answer.
Hopefully, this year, you’ll be celebrating Christmas in a warm and cozy home and eating large meals (maybe even a Buche de Noel). As you exchange gifts with family and friends, remember what and who you are celebrating. How one star-filled chilly evening over 2000 years ago, the Savior of the world was born in a stable to die for you and me. Amen
Dear Jesus. We don’t know the exact circumstance under which you were born. What we do know is that you came into this world to save us. You had one task. To sacrifice yourself for us so that we may have the right to eternal life with you. Amen.