Tag Archives: Christmas

Christmas Wrap Up

Hello!

It is that time of year again for me to complain about not wanting anything to do with Christmas. In some ways I won a little, as Richard has been feeling rather unChristmassy: we did not put up the big tree. My little fiber optic one is filling in the void.

My animals were to get the treatment, but I could not be arsed.

It is not all bad; we are going to the UK next year! I am not sure when it will be, as cost is the biggest obstacle. We do have enough funds to get there, only now we have to save for the visit. That is very much doable.

What to do until then? “First, you need to get the cars fixed,” you say. “Yeah, but after that?” I ask. I need to sit and do research on our destination. Richard has three things on his list:

1. A photo of Buckingham Palace
2. A photo of Big Ben
3. A visit to Stonehenge

I have three times a thousand-million things I want to do. I am so thankful for my lovelies in the UK who will be our hosts. OMGOSH!

On a health standpoint, things are the same. I am still crazy. Crazy in a good way, I hope. The down moments still happen, but you know what? I take them with a pack of pencil crayons or a dash of music mixing. I still have diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Though, I have discovered probiotic drops are doing some good work. My rear in review will happen next week; be prepared.

You caught that? 😉

I sent out my annual ‘There is No War on Christmas’ greeting cards. Oh, its usually the same people guity of blaming the Atheists for Christians being oppressed, not realising they are doing to themselves. What would ikkle (borrowed this word from my friend Tony 😊) baby Jesus do?

Not much. The Christians believe God came to the Earth as Jesus to save sinners. In this example, he would be thinking: “I have to add more to the list. Gosh.”

No matter what side you are on during this season, remember just love each other; don’t give in to the hate. As we prepare to celebrate Christmas with Richard’s parents and sister, we remember those who have left us and those who are too far away. Take everyone in your heart, hold them tight and tell them how much you care, no matter how silly it sounds.

Richard and I wish you all a great holiday.

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Filed under Contentment, Downtime, Progressive Christianity, Vacation

Oratorio Oh No

I volunteer with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and this past Saturday was their annual Messiah Sing-Along, and I had the privilege to work this performance. It was also the same day as Richard’s work Christmas party. The review of the Christmas party gets its own block for another day.

As we live out of town, it would have been too far out for me to go to the show and run back to Waldheim to pick up Richard in time for his par tea. I decided to buy him a ticket for the show. I should have guessed from the look of his face I made a mistake.

We all know Handel’s Messiah. Well, not really; we know the Hallelujah part of the deal. Most of the world does not realise there is a beginning, more of a middle and an end. The Hallelujah isn’t even the end of the work. Ricky O’Bannon of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra gives a great historical review:

5 Thing You Might Not Know About Handel’s Messiah

Richard suffered greatly through the performance, stating during the intermission that he should have gone to a movie. He does not like opera, though I told him this was not an opera, he obviously could not care less. I value his opinion on this subject. He has been blessed with my constant grumblings on Star Trek and The Walking Dead. 

Richard told me the combinations of sounds bothered him. I have never played my CD version of Messiah for Richard. He does find some choral performances uncomfortable to his ears. At first, I could not understand, but after taking a step into his space, I realised his point. Unlike hymns sang in church, with harmonies, the voices are singing the same words at the same time. Choir performances are not always so simple. The art comes in the waves of words, interminglings of sentences and the musical instruments filling in some of the voids. The airs and recitatives sung by the soloists mirror opera, of course, but in Messiah, these introductions to the various parts of the story are so important.

Though I no longer adhere to any religious beliefs, this piece somehow makes me miss church. The point of Messiah is to invoke feelings of love, compassion, and the need to believe. I think the history of the work, the process and the purpose for its creation is enough for me to feel the feels. I have listened to this throughout the year, like a puppy, it is for life, not just for Christmas.

I tried my best to make this performance special for both of us. As mentioned, I volunteered this day and this meant I had to leave him alone at times. The concert took place at Knox United Church in Saskatoon, a 104-year-old building, a place of history. The setting of Messiah was perfect, though not written for Christmas and not originally performed in a church (almost an unheard of thing to be done in the 18th-century), this building needed this piece played here. The beauty of Handel’s music and the words of Charles Jennens made for a wonderful moment. I was part of a truncated performance of Messiah in university when I was part of the Concert Choir. our performance of the work was done at First Presbyterian Church in Regina. The vibe was not the same; there was no weakening of the knees . Not like Saturday.

Though Richard did not like the time spent amongst the chamber players, the chorus – spectators were encouraged to sing along (hence the name of the show), and the soloists, the day was brightened by him just being there. I understand not to play this for him on our trip to Tisdale for Christmas. Granted, I do give him credit for not liking Schubert’s Ave Maria, everyone’s favourite Christmas dirge. He skips this one every time. *praise hands* 

Unfortunately, I will still be blessed with Michael W Smith’s Greatest Christmas Hits.

 

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Filed under Arts and Mines, Historical Cool Stuff, Musical Fruits, Progressive Christianity

The Boar’s Head Carol and Why I Remember It.

Dodging Arrows... a (mainly) Medieval Blog

ALL-ABOARD-with-medallion

And now for something completely… well, seasonal… as part of a December Blog Hop organised by IndieBRAG.

The Boar’s Head Carol is pretty distinctive and easily recognised by the fact that it starts with the line: “The boar’s head in hand bear I…”

It sounds like this: The Boar’s Head Carol – Steeleye Span  … once you get past the advert…

Now this carol was one of my formative influences, but more of that later.

Why, you might ask, did someone ever have the idea of writing a carol about a boar’s head? The term carol is, for us, associated completely with Christmas but in medieval times a carol might just have been a popular song often involving a bit of dancing. In this case the song celebrates the serving of the boar’s head but it does not always refer to Christmas.

The boar – with or without its head…

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I Am Not Interested In Christmas

That sounds horrible.

I understand the significance of the holiday. I also understand the history behind the origin of the day of celebration itself. Every year I remind my listeners of the date chosen for Christmas. I think it that creation of the holiday that has been bothering me. Plus, the materialness of the whole thing as well. That is an entirely different session altogether, one I do not think I will touch on at this moment.

Why December 25? (1)

At one point I actually felt like not setting up a tree. I brought the subject up, in a covert kind of way, asking Richard if he would ever not put up a tree. He said he was offended that I would ever ask the question. Tradition has ruined Christmas for me this year. This could have been fuelled by my anxiety issues. I guess I am just not feeling it. However, I think there is more to it. My belief in God and Jesus have been ruined by tradition. Those evangelical Christian weirdos have ruined Christmas with their complains of losing their tradition. I have to make turkey for Christmas supper, which is tradition.

I am taking a different approach this year; something completely out of my comfort zone. I want to create a comfortable set of traditions, something that speaks of compassion instead of the same old thing. I wanted to make a Christmas supper like the ones my grandmother used to make, but I have realised that time as passed. I will still set up the tree, play carols, make sugar cookies, the only difference will be these things will all be done to celebrate love and family, not in commemoration of a religious experience. I will still attend service with Richard and his parents when they come up for Christmas out of respect. I will deal with the church thing in another form at another time.

The holidays are about love, joy, food, and hopefully the beginning of a tradition of being non-traditional.

(1) Coffman, Elesha. “Why December 25?” Why December 25? © 2015 Christianity Today, 08 Aug. 2008. Web. 04 Dec. 2015.

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Filed under Family and Friends, Progressive Christianity

No Dwelling On The Thing With The Stuff

With the exception of my post last Monday, this religiousless posting thing is actually working well for me. The removal of the political is a bit harder, but I the weight chained to my brain has lessened considerably. Thankfully I am beginning to get my groove back.

Or getting a groove, since I never really had one to lose. I also have to see how long I can go without mentioning the Manic Street Preachers.

My writing has taken another break, maybe for good. I feel sad about it, but maybe I was hoping for something that actually belongs to someone else. Admitting defeat is OK. I have too much real life things to worry about. I need to get a new mats for the front entrance and the bathrooms. I need to find my grandmother’s perogy recipe. I need to pick up some cherry pie filling and cherry Jello for the Christmas dessert. I need to …

Nevermind. The perogies and Christmas stuff will get done whether I write a book or not. In fact, they will get done quicker if I don’t worry about the next chapter or new character. I am also wrapped up in books with characters too complex to be real people, yet that label would make them more real. Creating a fictional real-life person takes talent. My talent is reading about them and using creative language to describe the experience.

I had been listening to BBC Radio 3 during the sleepless moments of the night. As the BBC Music player works intermittently, Petroc Trelawny’s weather reports get cut off mid-temperature. The Breakfast comes on here at 12.30am, which makes for a long day if I make it through the whole show. I get to sleep just in time to wake up and get ready for work. Thankfully these times are less frequent since my change of direction. Also, Mr Trelawny hasn’t been on this past week.

If it is not the sweet, soulful sounds of Saint-Saëns at one in the morning, it is the uncompromising words of C.S. Lewis or the ramblings of some Middle English theologian-slash-poet on my Kindle device. Even those moments are become less common. I do not feel compelled to check my messages or read a couple of pages as much as I did before. Do not get me wrong, I did a post Sunday morning at around 3.00am on Facebook. It will not stop completely.

The break I am on may be permanent. I will only discuss my religious beliefs/disbeliefs in private. My political views will be treated the same. I may slip every now and then if the feeling is too overpowering not to. Being human allows for this. I will still complain about the thousand-million baby photos; that will not change.

Before I go, I will leave you with this little ditty:

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Filed under Contentment, Downtime, Family and Friends, Progressive Christianity, Writing and Reading

Oh Boy, It’s that Time of Year Again

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourself for Persecution Complex Season:

image

This high horse people keep riding must be getting a sore back. Without going into too much detail, you will be fine if no one says ‘Merry Christmas’ and 99.763% of people don’t care if you do either.

Getting over it may take an intervention. Every year I have to make this declaration. Every year the same replies flood the paranoid universe:

“Oh, hell yeah!!! Merry Christmas… God bless us everyone….” (this one makes me laugh; combining hell with God, nice try.)

“You bet I’m going to be political incorrect!! It’s CHRISTMAS!! Christ’s brith!! I’m going to shout it if I have to. Anybody with me????” (the All-Caps makes it mean business.)

And my favourite: “Of course. I’m the most politically incorrect person there is… They say I’m a dinosaur :D” (nice touch with the emjoi, not really something I would expect from a dinosaur.)

Not to burst another bubble, but we don’t know when Jesus was born. It could have been April, June, September, or heck, even December. As I do every year, I will again post an articke about why Christmas is in December:

Why December 25? (1)

I know this article is from 2008. Would you like one more recent? Well, here you go:

How December 25 Became Christmas (2)

I will not get into the debate about pagans (someone find me a better word) vs Christians and who owns this holiday. I rarely say ‘Merry Christmas’, not because I am afraid of offence at a shop, because I forget. I do not forget it is the Christmas season – all Christians know about Christmas and its meaning. No, I just forget.

And another burst bubble: Jesus was not Christian. Now I will let you have some time with this one.

You will OK if the young lady at Shoppers says ‘Happy Holidays’. If not, have a cry in the car, get out, get a cup of coffee, go back to your car, and go home.

(1) Coffman, Elesha. “Why December 25?” Christian History. Christianity Today, 08 Aug. 2008. Web. 23 Oct. 2015.
(2) McGowan, Andrew. “How December 25 Became Christmas.” Bible History Daily. Biblical Archaeology Society, 12 Aug. 2014. Web. 23 Oct. 2015.

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October 23, 2015 · 10:18 am