Seasonal Reflections

2020.

Pandemic

Elections.

Wars.

In the wake of the year’s news, which is uniquely still current Christmas Songs can be more of a minefield than usual. I mean, be fair if you can get out and have the money to conduct a ‘Christmas Shop’ of one sort or another are you truly convinced in 2020 ‘It’s That Most Wonderful Time of The Year’?

Back in the turn of the millennium I was still a UK Civil Servant working in a section of the Benefits System called ‘The Job Centre’. It was essentially a place where unemployed went to seek work and claim their Unemployment Benefit. Some klutzs, it’s the only way to describe the decision makers far removed from the realities of looking for work thought it would be a splendid idea to have music playing. Pop music happy, bouncy, pop music. In a place where the majority of callers are unhappy, stripped of dignity and worried about money trying to navigate a system that even the staff didn’t fully understand??? (Explicit words). Now if that was not bad enough the same bunch of socially comfortable and well paid folk decided there would be a Christmas series to play over December…..and amongst all the Yo-ho-hos, Santas, Log Fires, Driving Home (will you keep you fffff-lipping eyes on the road man!) what did we get?????? ‘Simply Having a Wunnderfful Christmas!’ (Even more bad words) being played in a Job Centre!!….Give me strength!…The number of times I wanted to hunt down the machine in our office playing that and tear the tape out (yep tape) for the sake of the public.

Anyway, that out of my system, you get the general idea. In my opinion Christmas Songs of all sorts should only be played at locations where those who agree they want them can listen and enjoy, or be thoughtful.

So before everyone decides ‘Hullo, this guy has a major ‘Huff’ about Christmas and is doing a fayre impression of The Grinch, or Scrooge pre-dreams’ I’ll move onto the ‘thoughtful’ part.

Below is a carol ‘O Come O Come Emmanuel’ sung in a traditional way, with lyrics displayed. I chose this because……wait, let me carry on after you’ve heard it

Hope it reached you at some level, because although Christian (Catholic- not that it matters except personally) I feel there is a universality about this one. Let me explain to all folk of whatever belief system (or none) of whatever circumstances, situations and outlooks.

Firstly the tune and the words are in truth sombre and restrained, there is no jolliness here, no urge for you to get up and dance about the place. This is an anthem if you like of a promise (dangerous word I know) of better times. Yes you can focus in on the narrow interpretation of the return of Jesus Christ and the Christian perspective of hope written therein and the joy that hope brings.

Or

Return to the concept of the universality, and consider this song from there.

Firstly although a hopeful offering being sombre and reflective you could not say it is a ‘Jolly’ song, it does not call upon you to exude a happiness you might not really feel like exuding. It is simply, and here’s the word again HOPE.

Secondly the tune and the words are reflective, asking the listener to consider to be grateful for that HOPE.

Thus I ask you to consider joining with me, no matter what your faith or no faith might be, Adapt this message to your own perspectives, even write your own words if you want I wouldn’t be offended (as long as you didn’t assail my beliefs with parodies; don’t do that it’s not nice and you wouldn’t like my sardonic dismissive reply). Turn this around if you will to your own message of HOPE.

And I ask you to consider to be grateful that we have access to computers and we have the time to consider such matters and we are not out somewhere in some wreck of a country, scrabbling for survival and quite forgotten by most of the world. And think in the new year what you might be able to do, even in the smallest way to help someone somewhere.

Rejoice then in sombre and reflective ways.

And HOPE, never give up on HOPE

To You and those close to you I wish you a peaceful, calmly uneventful, contented (for the moment) time; you might not have it now, you might not want it now, you might wish for it later. Whenever, wherever I wish it to you.

(My apologies to fellow Catholics who may not agree with my Relativism. You know how it goes Four Catholics, Five Different Ways of Worship and Belief) .

Christmas, Writing and Community

Nativity by Gari Melchser

Julius Garibaldi Melchers (August 11, 1860 – November 30, 1932)… commonly known as Gari Melchers. One artist who managed to capture the Humanity and the Spirituality of the Nativity in one amazing work of art. I will leave you to study the details here and take your own journey through the picture.

So not everyone will be celebrating Christmas. Maybe because they do not believe in the event either the religious or secular versions. Maybe they are going through one of the hard episodes we will all encounter. Maybe they just have not been given the opportunity to take part in any sort of celebration. Maybe in their part of the world it’s a struggle for survival and they don’t see things that way anymore.

Maybe even through one or all of the above, they will still find some space to make some sort of celebration.

It’s not for me to comment and try and bring words of cheer, that would not work. ‘Words of Cheer’ can irritate (Ask anyone with leaky shoes and wondering how they can get just one little gift for their child, while Paul McCartney’s ‘Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time’ blares out from somewhere)

What shall we The Writers do then?

Maybe not today or tomorrow. Maybe we are currently weary and have run out of words? Maybe we’ve just received a rejection for our latest project? Maybe our blog likes and followers are in single or low double figures? Maybe we are wondering (yet again) what is the point of it all?

In the days and nights ahead though.

We will return. For we are writers and we never truly rest or give up and we will take up the challenge to play our own part in keeping the light in the world.

We will weave tales for perhaps only one person to enjoy; it is will be sufficient

We will bring accounts and pictures of places we have been to share with those who cannot make those journeys.

We will reach out to share our experiences with others and they will feel a measure better by thinking ‘Oh. Not just me then. I am not alone,’

We will not give up on our causes even when all seems hopeless, because no Human empire ever lasts.

We will shed light upon those places where injustice and violence looms over the people.

We will bring our humour and our lyricism for folk to enjoy.

We will talk of the natural wonders of the world and beyond that others may be in awe and realise these bombasts who would be rulers are small transitory beings.

Some writers will meld a few or all of the above.

We, the writers have been given this gift, sometimes an onerous one which will not let us rest and gives us scant material reward. We should not care, for it is a Gift and we must fulfil its blessings upon us.

And as I write it occurs to me

In the Christian pantheon….The Nativity commenced with one young woman accepting a joy, a burden and a fate to bring a Light into The World.

Lest I offend anyone by any clumsy words I will leave the reader to ponder.

And Writer never give up on their writing.

My best wishes to all of you.

Candle lights