Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Away in a Manger...

"In the bad old days, when the Mob ruled the world, the capo de capo, who then was Ceasar Augustus, let it be known that all the world should be made to pay protection money..."

Things went on from there until, today, shortly after the darkest day of the year -- at least in the Northern Hemisphere -- we celebrate Christmas and the birth -- the Gift -- of light into the world...

I remember one Christmas, I heard that the Pope had mentioned in his sermon that we really do not know exactly when Jesus was born. From an historical viewpoint, sometime in April would be a better guess, as it was the custom of the Roman rulers to levy taxes and have census done in the late spring.

According to the teevee, some of the faithful were supposedly shocked...

Knowing that the media creature has a desperate need to say things so people won't change the channel and that they sometimes come up with things like a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat, there's no way to know if anybody let alone any of the faithful was really shocked.

It is common knowledge that the December date for Christmas was chosen because most earlier cultures had a festival at that time of year.

For the Nordic tribes, it was "Jul". Of course, the date for Christmas was settled long before the Danes, the Swedes and the Norsemen ever heard of the "White Christ" or decided he was stronger than Thor.

The "Suffering Christ" has never had the appeal here in the North as it has in the Mediterranean. The Northmen prefer the vision of "Christ-Triumphant". Also, the North was baptized in blood as much as in water. Perhaps that might shock some people?

My Norwegian forebears have a saint, St. Olav, known as "Olav the Holy". They might as well have called him "Olav the Bloody".

When he was 17, Olav went "viking" and tried to capture London. Of course London was no where near the size it is today, but still he was a precocious fellow. Before he got religion, he was known as what I might translate as "Olav Squarepants". He was what is called "big-boned" and could throw two spears at once, a skill which impressed those who went "viking" with him.

Getting religion didn't change his behavior patterns significantly. People he didn't like (= those who refused to be baptized) were treated -- unkindly.

He ordered one chieftain, along with his sons, to be bound with their hands tied behind them and placed on a rock in the water -- at low tide. When the tide came in they drowned. He ordered others to have kettles with glowing coals placed on their tummies, or that they be thrown into pits full of poisonous snakes.

Um, and these are the tales told by those who are trying to praise him!

However, my intention was to speak of Christmas, the Birth of Christ and in that mood I want to speak of facts.

Not historical facts -- historical facts are almost trivial in this context. I'm not talking about facts like the price of a pound of butter.

Here is a real fact:

There is a light which shines in the heart of every human being. This is not true because it is writ in John chapter one, verse blah-blah. This is a truth which is true only if you yourself have seen and understood something of it.

At the risk of being too specific, we could say that it is the light of our conscious awareness.

That we have physical eyes, ears, tongue, nose and the feelings of the skin are, in my opinion, a consequence of or, so to speak, a reflection of that light, that is, there is an observable, innate tendency of the universe as-we-see-it towards life and conscious awareness..

Is this light is in us, or does the human heart or essence somehow focus the light so that it can be revealed in the physical reality? I don't know and leave any answering to the experts.

In any case, without this light, without this tendency or drift towards conscious awareness -- would we be human?

In sum, there is a light which shines in the heart of every human being and here, at the darkest time of the year, we celebrate that that light is born into this world of struggle.

Merry Christmas!

You know the story:

We give gifts at Christmas. Why? Ask the folklorists!

However, we can say that, just as Christ is the symbol of the Gift-of-Love made visible unto the world, likewise give we gifts to make visible our love in the world.

Giving can get to be a rat race, as if the amount of money spent should seem to be a measure of the love we bear. As in life, we tear open tinseled packages, looking for something we missed, something as simple as a hand on the wrist...

Christ-mas is not the sole property of "christianity" -- Christmas is the revelation of our common humanity.

When the tinsel is gone and the tree is bare -- remember, Christmas is clever, Christmas is forever.


Lurch said...

I'm late making my rounds. I ho[e you and Rainbow Woman had a blessed holiday filled with the warmth and love that this holiday is supposed to impart. I also hope it follows you through the year to come.

Chuck Cliff said...

Thanks, Lurch, Rainbow is good name, but my woman is Sunflower...;-)