:O:O:O:O OMGOMGOMG....*hyperventilates*.....I SWEAR I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THE EARRINGS!!!1!1!! IT WAS NOT PLANNED, TOTALLY _ NOT _ PLANNED....but anyhow, still one up on you....:P

We'll get back to that other thing later......*mutters suspiciously*

....There, was that completely and totally vague enough? Shall I try harder? Really? Oh, I'm sure that I can; there's no doubt of that whatsoever....hell, we can even throw in ketchup and bunnies and....Doritos? Hmmm.....better think about that one..../:)

And for anyone wondering what I did to celebrate St. Patrick's Day....I'm not bloody Irish, I'm bloody Scottish!!! And a few other things too!!! (Sexy mutts rule, baby...B-)...)

But anyhow, the old music's good stuff -- not the rowdy bar stuff but the Thomas Moore and aulder such, as in turn of the 19th century and back...and I wasn't averse to singing through some of them with my mother at the piano when she was over today. Anything that actually sounds good on a harp or bagpipes or a solitary flute, I can certainly appreciate, as it gives a sense of the land itself. Not to mention that they have the right idea when it comes to fighting for liberty and preferring death or prison to rising to fame at the cost of one's honour and over the backs of one's compatriots. Call me whatever you like, but I've no liking for John Wayne as the pugilistic patron playactor of the day, nor do I care much about all the O'Somethings and Mac-whosits and how many of them you can crowd into a rollicking verse before you fall down puking green beer on the floor......yeah, and this is coming from someone who lives within the suburban radius of Chicago, where the Mayor is Daley and the river is dyed green. To quote George Carlin, whoop-de-shit. That way's not the Irish celebrating Ireland nor Ireland's religion (anywhich way :-|), it's an Irish-American holiday that's gotten foisted onto the collective American holiday calendar to sell beer and novelties with -- perhaps as well out of some karmic bounceback for having treated Irish emigrants as shite when they landed in America -- and now culminating in the massive conceit that one ought to wear green (or be pinched) and pretend to be Irish for a day, 'cause everyone's Irish on Saint Paddy's day, don't you know.......

Erm, yeah right. Green-pissin' malarkey that is..........
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....*
*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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