....at least insofar as anyone's getting to read them, that is. I always get intensely moody around Christmas (don't ask unless you really wanna know...), and it's kinda built up to near-breakingpoint this year, especially given that so many people who claim to be Christians are such utter assholes to their fellow human beings that I really wish I could forcibly strip them of the title and all of its pious pretense, regardless of how high up they are in whatever hierarchy of religious profession...yes, you probably have a good idea which people I'm referring to, in the wide world of Pharisaical chauvinism. They don't even deserve to sing Christmas carols...of course, I don't think that hypocrisy in singing is ever a good idea, but it's really disgusting to prate and preach and pipe about the meaning of this season when one is not prepared to live it out and help create the "kingdom of heaven" on earth -- which means in the sense of grace, not of forcible theocracy. Force was never part of the formula, contrary to the desires of so many a Jewish nationalist under the Roman yoke, or the fiat of the Emperor Constantine in spreading and maintaining his earthly territory....just see how little has been learned down through the ages.

Enh. I'd better not share the pissed unless I'm willing to get into the rest of my current feelings, but it's a tad late to be thorough and circumspect, plus I've had some extremely messed up working hours and sleep these past few days. Have a little patience and I'll share (most of) what's really on my mind......in the meantime, have some erratic holiday cheer...

It's 4:37 am, I'm tired, relatively disinhibited and messing around with randomizers.....fun.... )

(If you worship your holiday beverages, btw, does that make you an eggnogstic? See Muad'dib for more on the saving grace of irreverence...)
Yes, and now would be the time to do it, seeing as no other religious holiday has the cultural influence and outright dominance of Christmas. The supposed war between "secularists" (since when is that such a dirty word?) and Christians is not helped, in my opinion, by this latest of bishops' editorials being featured in the Telegraph -[ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/12/24/do2401.xml ]- and just to get it straight, I'm a person who values the spiritual nature of Christmas, as well as its social significance. Not commercial -- social. Every holiday that makes it from ancient times into the modern social calendar has reasons for persisting that transcend whatever proprietary stamp a religion has placed upon it...in winter, most of us with any skill of observation have noted that there is a thematic emphasis of light overcoming/emerging out of darkness at the darkest time of the year, and that there's a very human emphasis on sharing, gift-giving, socializing and showing concern for others -- however it has evolved, there it is.

[I often refer to things like that as a Casablanca effect, cf. that movie's uncalculated and haphazard almost-by-chance development into a classic that now can hardly be imagined otherwise.]

It's great to be able to go to church and feel uplifted and inspired and think about great significance in the story of Jesus' birth and all its signs and wonders. But I deplore the way that the organized religious camp has aligned itself in conspiracy-theorism against the whole supposed commercial-secular camp (it's really just commercial and trying to maximize return/minimize risk), leaving very little room for that which is spiritual but not loud and demanding in its cause, and which embraces ecumenical-or-agnostic circumspection and tolerance in regard to others without being centered around materialistic Santa-ism and economic competition. That is why A Christmas Carol remains so meaningful to me, because it comes out of a non-paranoid sense that Christianity in practice meant (or ought to mean) humanism rather than dogmatism. If the "Christian virtues" are not being practised through spreading peace, goodwill, comfort and joy throughout the community and general populace, then what use is there atall in arguing about the propriety of Nativity scenes or Christmas trees on public display and what to say to shoppers in a store? These things are petty.

So, though, is the naive attitude from the bishopric that because Christmas happens to be the culturally dominant winter holiday in the West, that its particular story and theologies need to be expounded to the general population in clerical commentaries ex cathedra, as if this were not just (on the one side) a season of crucial shopping days but also of chances to fish for otherwise-lost souls from the pulpit of the public newspapers. There is enough reason in the intrinsic social values of Christmas that hammering the story and all its underpinnings into people's heads is a bit unnecessary, and even damaging to the cause of religion's credibility in the general social arena. Rather like goodnaturedly saying that everyone's honorarily Irish on St. Paddy's day, it is an extension of assumed superiority that can easily backfire because it dismisses everything not-Christian so very lightly. We are not all Irish on March 17; we are not all Christian on December 25 -- though in the latter case, we should certainly treat each other as well as if there were no barriers of religion or philosophy to separate us -- or wealth, or worldly rank, or any of the things that get used as excuses to separate "us" from "them".

Ebenezer Scrooge didn't hasten to church post-conversion on his lifechanging Christmas; neither did the Grinch, actually, nor even George Bailey -- and he'd been visited by an angel, gosh-darn-golly! But the humanistic values that are shown in their fictional stories are more important to me in 'the real meaning of Christmas' than someone sporting a button or a bumper sticker that says "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" (*gag*) or the like and raising money by their fervor for the AFA. Take the "season" and live it well with the best that's in you.....don't get all hung up over whether people accent the "Christ" in "Christmas" enough to your liking or not, or if the carols are "too religious" to be used in a school choir concert. Get past that; see each other instead. Jesus would want it that way, dammit, whether you're fixated on remembering him or not.

There, that's my sermon for Christmas Eve....if I get moody tonight I may post more, possibly quite a bit more....

As a leaven and a chaser (though I'm sure I'd mentioned it last year?), there is the old story of how Sir Thomas Massey was arguing in favour of changing "Christmas" to "Christ-tide" to eliminate 'Papist' language from the calendar and English culture; he had to stand down amidst laughter when another MP challenged him to reciprocally change his name to "Sir Tom-tide Tidey".....

Pax vobiscum, mes amari

*lighting Yule log and passing the wassail bowl....*
Well, not the holiday itself, just the trying-to-get-things-done. My cards are late....if I have time to get them done tonight, then I'm likely going to try sending them as emails to most, and post something here....otherwise, I've no chance to hit the regular mails till Boxing Day. Woohoo.

And now I'm overtired and will likely sleep until dark -- again -- after wrapping a crapload of presents on my mother's behalf. Mine are barely a quarter wrapped. I dearly hate the idea of opening presents on Christmas Eve just 'cause my sister's going to her boyfriend's family dinner on Christmas Day. I hate rushing, I hate stupid work schedules that have people trying to cram things in without really caring about it itself, just finding time. I'd rather be almost anywhere on Christmas Eve than with my family, 'cause that's my alone time and I damn well need it.

Anyhow. I got these random-generator results last night and am posting them before I go offline. Enjoy.

My Fortune Cookie told me:
Communicate! It can't make things any worse.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
His Excellency Aureantes the Woebegone of Chipping Sodbury
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
The Right Reverend Aureantes the Flavoursome of Happy Bottomshire
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

And one more for good measure....

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Reverend Earl Aureantes the Venal of Molton St Anywhere
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Oh boy....I think I'm definitely going to hear back on those results......

Okay, and here's what I get from my ladylove.....
Oh my......that's certainly one way of binding--I mean, winding--things up....hmm, you know I'm all for diversity......:-| 

Okay.....I tend to go on the principle that you should give gifts that you know (more or less) a person's going to like, or else play it safe and general....but anyhow, always fun to see what people guess you would like......./:)

my xmas stocking )
Cross-posting this to all groups and blogs where people may want to get real live (well, not *really*...) holiday cards from me -- have updated RSVP deadline to December 12, but the P.O. recommends mailing things by December 13 to ensure Christmas delivery. So it's possible that some may be slightly late due to the necessary prep time. On the other hand, they're only greeting cards, so......go figure.

TO SIGN UP FOR GETTING A CARD FROM ME......go here -- http://aureantes.livejournal.com/59399.html -- and reply with mailing name and address, or name and email if you want one sent non-smailmail. You need not be a member of LiveJournal to post a reply, but it does help if *I* know who you are..../:) All comments are screened to ensure privacy, and will remain generally invisible unless replied to themselves. Hope that makes sense.
*snerk*  There, that's one way of putting it......okay, here's the deal, me being an artsy creative-type personage as I am:

In other news, I've been having some rather interesting dreams lately, and am only expecting them to intensify.....but that's for another post in itself.  And maybe not even here, but then you know what a shameless exhibitionist I am.  :-|


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