Thursday – First Week of Advent

The holiday tree

Four weeks seems like a long time to “get ready” for something. If you are like me (and apparently Congress) I wait until the last possible moment to do something. It must be a character flaw (in respect to Congress, there is no doubt it is a character flaw). Be that, as it may (be) we are preparing (getting ready) for December 25th and the “war on Christmas”  has been declared…again. We dig out our “holiday” lights to decorate our “holiday tree” for the “holidays” and do our “holiday” shopping. Do you know where the word “holiday” comes from? Well, you’ve come to the right place for truth, buck0. It comes from the idea of “Holy Day” and our present use of the word really comes from the old English word “hāligdæg” got that? Yeah it refers to religious days. So my argument is simple. The so-called Fox manufactured “War on Christmas” which pops up with regularity around this “holiday” season really means the Murdoch network don’t know that English language so good. The word “Christmas” has been replaced with the secular “Holy Day.” Shocking! So there you have it. Speaking of holidays and secularism…

Fun fact for today – Did you know that the feast of St. Nicholas has been celebrated on this date (December 6) since the 5th century? Even though we know little about his real life life we do know that a Nicholas was a bishop in Myra (modern-day Turkey) and he lived in the 4th century. As the legend goes, he was born into a wealthy family, was orphaned at a young age, grew up in a monastery and at age 17 became a priest. He was kind and generous to poor families, widows and especially children and orphans.

Unlike our present-day Coca-Cola Santa, Nick operated anonymously. It is said he dropped bags of gold down chimneys of homes of people in need. It is also said, by an anonymous source, that he would throw gold coins through windows where they landed in socks hanging by the fireplace to dry. (The Giants need to sign this guy quickly!) As time went, on other people were inspired by his generosity to do the same thing, although I am sure he’s the only one to be able to pitch a coin through a window and into a sock…from the street. The reformation thinking Nicholas was too tied to the Catholic Church decided to secularize him. (I wonder what Fox would say about that tidbit!) Anyway, several countries developed their own gift-giver. In France, he is known as Pere Noel; in England, Father Christmas; and to the Dutch, Sinterklass. (I think you know where this is going). Soooo when the Dutch settled in the New World, they brought their Christmas tradition with them and Sinterklass became Santa Claus. (If you have read this far, you deserve a gold coin in your sock).

The reading to day is from Matthew (7:21,24-27)

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

This is a goodly passage to think about in this “getting ready” mode of Advent. I have been disturbed (well more so than usual) with people saying “God Hates Fags” or other “I know what God really wants” approaches. I am one of those strange persons who does not believe I can either please or displease God. I do believe in God and I also believe that if “God is Love” and it’s unconditional then I cannot make God angry or sad or even joyous. There are no strings attached to the love he gives me (and you too). But my love is imperfect and often times has strings attached. So the bottom line is for me to try, since I am not God, to love the best I can. That’s the will of the Father and nothing more. My actions need to reflect this love, not in all the Holy Holys I can repeat but in looking on the “other” as holy because it/she/he is also God’s creation. This includes people I know, people I don’t know, people that are like me, people who are unlike me, Sr. Mary Rosina from 4th grade, the environment and other stuff. God doesn’t keep tabs on how often I go to Church or give to the poor. I do. I think that all God wants me to do is to learn how to love and allow myself to be loved. That is the simple (and hard) fact of life. I don’t think God wants me to use the Bible as a “proof” text on why I should hate something or someone. That doesn’t make sense. I know it maybe hard for you to believe, but I am not perfect. I know what I need to do and sometimes I am spot on and sometimes I am way off the mark. But I’m getting better at this thing called life. Now I only wish Fox News was in the Holy Day spirit.

and so it goes…

A little song, a little dance, a little coffee down your pants... 40 years in the high school classroom and now on my own. A chance to think about stuff and how it affects everyone, not just me. Now residing in Oregon volunteering for a refugee organization.

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