Saturday, December 17, 2005

O tannenbaum... - some likeminded (Quaker) thoughts on Christmas


And a bit of background info on Christmas trees -

Just to explain that I'm not totally bah humbug about the whole kit and kaboodle of Christmas, I love the way it does kick people into gear and get in touch with each other, and yes I'd far prefer to get a round robin generic letter than a card with no message other than 'love from....'. I'm not the world's best correspondent (especially since I stopped having essays to avoid writing and having lectures that were far better spent letter writing through and then reading up on the subject later) and I do appreciate the annual boot up the derriere to get my act together, even if half the time (ok, make that most of the time) it is usually a case of happy January, or even March by the time I get them out! But to me it isn't about wishing someone a happy Christmas but saying hi, I'm still alive, how are you? Christmas is just a convenient hook to hang it all on.

Having spent so many years working for a Rudolph Steiner organisation the passing of the seasons, the religious festivals and their symbolism is something I became very aware of. Even then I questioned the northern hemisphere bias of the christian calendar (as I've said before if you are going to adopt pagan festivals stick to their seasons not their calendar dates!). I have found myself drawn far more to the pagan roots than the re-interpretations; the changing seasons, phases of the moon, the equinoxes and solstices are still with us and are not dependent upon someone believing in them (unless Terry Pratchett got it right after all...). I love how the Maori New Year - Matariki ( links in the rising of the Seven Sisters and all the rebirth, fertility & crops and remembrance associations of many of the old British customs, and the fact that it is brought into modern life in a meaningful way. I'm really looking forward to being here for it.

In the meantime though I'll try to get the rest of my Christmas cards posted off to wish the recipients a happy January, keep plodding on getting my head around the teachings of Jesus and not worry too much about when his birthday was. Oh and if anyone can explain to me why the carol goes 'born of David's line' when the churches would have us believe that Joseph (the descendant of David, rather than Mary - who if I've got this right was a descendant of Benjamin, hence king of kings - bringing two royal lines together) wasn't the father that would be grand - maybe there was a subversive carol writer out there trying to sneak things through.... in which case where was the continuity editor? Probably off to the bach for the christmas holidays....

(ps - yes I can spell, well most of the time, bach = kiwi place by the sea, usually a second home, anything from an empty plot of land, via a shed with a long drop loo to a flash summer house!)

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