And Goodwill Toward Men

Also Dwarves, Elves, Ents, Hobbits… maybe even Wizards. Most of them.

There are those who will go off into learned academic discussions about how the date for Christmas was actually borrowed from Mithraism or some other solstice-based celebration, given the whole “when shepherds watched their flocks by night” strongly implies lambing season, putting it more in the February to March timeframe.

Having been raised around sheep, I can state it’s not that simple. There’s a lot of variation in lambing between breeds, and two thousand years ago whatever they were watching near Bethlehem were probably something more like modern Finn sheep. Who just love freezing you in early winter making sure they lamb alright. (Usually they do.)

On an emotional level, though, I don’t think it matters when the actual Nativity was. The metaphor of a world lost in the darkness of sin implied by the fading winter sun, and hope reborn with the returning light, speaks volumes to the heart.

We need light this year, more than any year I can remember. And I remember Chernobyl.

I bring that up specifically because it echoes today. Chernobyl happened, among other reasons, because people in the Soviet Union cut corners, then cut more corners, to keep up an appearance of high status. Who needs all those extra alarms and concrete containment domes, they declared. The Americans are cowards, we’ll do the science right-

Only they didn’t, and thousands of people died. Far more than would have been killed by the initial exposure, because the USSR tried to cover it up as long as they could, until outside parties signaled the alarm.

(When your Scandinavian nuclear power plant checks are showing that people are less exposed to radiation inside the plant than outside, you know there’s a problem.)

For the past several decades, we’ve had people actively ripping out the safety measures of manners, civility, respect for traditions, morality, and faith. Our so-called cultural elites claim all those are pointless, they stop people from being “authentically themselves”. And besides, they never stop real criminals.

Maybe not. But they do make it easier for the vast majority of us who are not real criminals to live with each other. And there are some people you don’t want being their “authentic selves”. If I wrote or said everything that came through my head, I’d probably be in jail somewhere. My authentic self is not nice.

Civilized, I can manage. But only because I strive to be better than my “authentic self”.

My head is a realm of shadows. I just keep walking toward daybreak.

Today we celebrate a Light returning to the world. No matter how dark it seems, keep walking.

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21 thoughts on “And Goodwill Toward Men

  1. In shame cultures, if you hide your wicked deeds it’s as if they never happened. In fear cultures, you can pay off the spirits and/or authorities.

    Christianity creates guilt cultures, because you cannot hide from the Light, bribe Justice, or bulls**t Truth: You may only plead for a Mercy that you do not deserve. Thus do the powers of this world hate the Light of the Word and all who seek to walk in it.

    And blessed are they who are hated for His sake. May we all be numbered among them.

    Merry Christmas, one and all!

    -Albert

    Liked by 3 people

    1. While I would object to the “guilt culture” part of that as “how it’s supposed to be” (tho accept, maybe, “how it frequently ends up getting twisted”), that is an interesting examination of the differences between those three categories of cultures that usually “look conceptually somewhat similar” when looking in from the outside. Definitely something for me to think about there.

      And yes, Merry Christmas to everyone!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. K, really funny thing?

    We actually know what breed was used, it’s the temple offering sheep. They’re still raised there. (not for temple use, obviously) Awassi.

    Guess when their lambing season is. 😀

    https://aleteia.org/2017/12/10/biological-evidence-that-jesus-actually-was-born-in-december/

    And yeah, it’s mostly a cool thing to figure out, not theologically important. But it’s cool. Like Rodger Pearse’s stuff on Mithras. (Has a blog and a self-titled website, don’t want to trigger spam guard.)

    Civilized, I can manage. But only because I strive to be better than my “authentic self”.

    *nod*
    Animals aren’t nice. They’re easier to deal with– if you figure out their buttons, you can dance around what they’ll do, mostly.
    Since sometimes the deal-with-them involves killing them, this doesn’t translate well into dealing with people……

    Liked by 4 people

    1. If the moderns are to be trusted, ‘killing them’ is the authentic thing for me to do, culturally speaking.

      P.S. Yeah, I don’t trust the moderns, nor all conclusions of academic fields, and do not care for the cultural authenticity argument.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Kind of related, did you see they got some of the date seeds from 400BC and the time of Jesus to grow, and harvested the dates? The Biblical Archeology guys had an article on it.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Awassi sheep are cool. The whole fat-tailed sheep thing is cool. And the six-horned sheep are definitely cool.

      They do have similar heritage breeds in a lot of countries. The fat storage in the tail, I think we discussed that before.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. It sounds familiar, so yes, we proba-

        Oooh! Oh oh oh!

        The whole Moses-with-horns thing– that’s how they described the shining-like-the- sun thing, right? What we use a halo for, in religious art.

        Ran into the random thing of Seraphim=> burning ones, group of angels, singular seraph, which is also the poisonous snakes that were driven off by the bronze snake on a stick which is one of the symbols prefiguring the crucifixion, and the attempt to visualize what an angel with six wings would look like.

        Could there be some sort of a connection between the six horns and the six wings? And if not, can one be made because that’s a really cool symbolic opportunity!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember this time last year, when I was so depressed, I could not even feel hope for the future, only cling to my faith that God knew better than me.

    He was right. This year has been so much better, despite everything.
    May his light shine on all people lost in the dark.

    Merry Christmas.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I can’t see the path ahead to what I want in life. I _can_ try to do better every day, and remind myself to keep trying tomorrow, with the faith that even if all I do is endure to the end appointed unto me, that’s enough according to our Savior.

        (Now, the prospect of an unending afterlife terrifies me if I dwell on it, but I consider that a failure of my imagination, rather than a limit on God’s ability to make Heaven heavenly.)

        -Albert

        Liked by 3 people

  4. I recently concluded that I am uncivilized/a barbarian for certain values of civilized.

    I get salty when people lie to my face. I’ve learned to shut up, and stay quiet when I fear retribution. But I have not learned to do that without accumulating a great deal of rage, which I may vent in venues where I feel safe in doing so.

    Liked by 2 people

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