Might I - in my well-stuffed, slightly alcohol-steeped state, and before midnight turns over to the 26th - take this opportunity to wish the Little Baby Jesus a Happy Birthday.
It happens than I am not a follower of Christ, nor do I believe in his father, nor their (shared?) holy ghost! which - as someone like Bernard Shaw (?) pointed out; suggests a sure-fire place for me in this mythical Heaven as I have given all three of them a great deal more thought than most of the people who will have been popping down to their local church in the last few days, or who will be doing so in the next few days, for the first time in twelve-months!
However I do believe in him as having been a historical person of some substance and I also believe he was a man who meant well, and had the knack of taking a crowd with him using only oratory, even when the message was one they wouldn't have liked...
* Be nice to people who are not the same as you, whether or not that difference is one of income, skin colour, religious belief or mental or physical state.
* Be generous with what you've got, whether that is in talents of money or talents of the mind, and expect nothing in return, but show gratitude for the generosity of others.
I'm sure that were he alive today he would have something to say about keeping guns in the closet too, but that's for another post, although the 'Give unto Caesar' rule would let the Swiss off the hook; they do have a mature attitude to them after all!
Indeed, all in all - for a non-believer I seem to believe quite a bit! The thing is though, this birthday thing we celebrate today and which has been so usurped by 'Big-Business' and the media, by politicians and the movie industry, was only ever the party we all need in the depths of winter, being earlier usurped by the Judeao-Christian lot from the Romans, who had usurped various aspects of it from the 'barbarians'.
We have bits of the Roman Winter Solstice, Scandinavian Sol (or Yule), Saturnalia, and others included in some of the traditions we think of as 'Christmassy' and hundreds of festivals ancient and modern from Halloween in the Autumn through Valentines to Walpurgisnacht in the Spring have risen and fallen in popularity, morphed, evolved and been subsumed over the years to the point where the truth of any of them has been lost in the need to eat mountains of food, buy truck-loads of manufactured 'stuff', drink a small brewery and light fireworks!
But there is one truth: that we need to stop, in the middle of winter, let of a bit of steam, fatten the bones and contemplate where we've been and where we're going, who we love and why.
And if they want to do that in the name of the Little Baby Jesus, sobeit, maybe calling it Winterval (C)/(R) Sponsored by Pepsi-corp/Lego TM would be more honest, but...hey? When did those at the top ever do anything honest to us or for us, be they priests, phat-cats or politicians?
Look to those around you, and be nice to them, it's all that matters in the end.
Thanks go to Dario (from Venice, not Italy! - see; keep it small and local) for the figure - maker unknown.
The Ampitheatre get a lick of paint ...
29 minutes ago