Friday, December 23, 2011

Season's Greetings!



What do "The Holidays" Mean to You?
"Tenderness for the past, vapid generalities for the present, evasive abstractions for the future," (Mark Steyn - Merry Christmas from Satan Claus)

32 comments:

Chakam Conservative said...

Jesus.

No, not as a cuss word, but as His Name. The Name above all names. The only Name through which mankind may be saved.

Jesus.

Without Jesus, what's the point of "The Holidays"?

Merry Happy Day We Celebrate The Birth Of The Savior Jesus Christ The LORD, to you and yours, Kurt!

From a simpleton in Bethel, CT

Jack Camwell said...

It's a time where we should appreciate just how lucky some of us have it.

bunkerville said...

Mark's piece said it all. He was on Hannity last night and his humor is rare indeed.

Anonymous said...

We love your writing, Kurt, please make no mistake about that, but it makes a very nice Christmas Gift to us for you to have punted this Friday column to the great master of political satire Mark Steyn of whom we see far too little these days. His astringent prose never fails to refresh as it eloquently puts a fine point on sentiments deeply felt by most conservatives but inadequately expressed 99% of the time.

Example Number One of the master's tongue-in-cheek style:

"... Across the fruitcaked plain in California, the city of Santa Monica allocated permits for "holiday" displays at Palisades Park by means of lottery. Eighteen of the 21 slots went to atheists — for example, the slogan "37 million Americans know a myth when they see one" over portraits of Jesus, Santa, and Satan...."

"Across the fruitcaked plain"

A masterstroke that. Steyn brings a smile to your lips, even as he makes deeply serious points illustrating clear and convincing evidence of our downfall and dissolution as a a people -- the "confused alarums of struggle and flight" that cause "ignorant armies to clash by night."

How could you not love Steyn -- unless you happen to be a bitter, humorless, sneeringly self-righteous, sour-mouthed Mercy Freak, Grievance Junkie, Feminazi or Compassion Fascist?

Make a New Year's Resolution not to listen to TV News and Disinformation in 2012. Instead read Charles Dickens aloud to your children -- and keep plenty of Mark Steyn columns nearby to help keep despair and dismay comfortably at bay.

Be of good cheer -- great satire is near.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Why not just come right out and say it plainly, Chakam?

JESUS is the REASON for the SEASON

Well yes, of course, but somehow the Backwoods Bible Belt style of that motto sounds like bad satire.

Odd how the simple truth can sound merely humorous -- even flippant -- when poorly expressed, isn't it?

Jesus may, indeed, be "The Reason" for "The Season," but surely Our Lord and Savior deserves a deeper, more reverent and understanding representation that something as unconsciously sarcastic as that?

Who IS Jesus? WHAT is Jesus?

Sorry, but it ain't enough to say "He's my Lord and Savior, and by His stripes I am healed, and by His blood I am SAVED."

The unbeliever will only cackle at that, and think, "And what the hell is THAT supposed to mean?"

What are we prepared to tell the unbeliever when he asks questions like that? It would do us Christians good if we had something in our intellectual arsenal beside stock phrases from the Bible, "Christian" clich├ęs, and well worn shibboleths.

I disagreed with Steyn's curt dismissal of Agnes Pharo. I think in her own admittedly tepid fashion she got much closer to the point of Christ's blessed existence than those who would squirt Scripture like napalm at those inclined to be hostile to the faith.

Scripture Squirting and mouthing Militant Mottos that smack of mockery and self-satire are rarely good ways to win friends and influence people.

The Nativity signifies the arrival of Love as our Supreme Commander and source of fulfillment, joy through ever deepening understanding combined wity peaceful, productive interaction with men and women of good will.

So let's try to have a MERRY-but-MEANINGFUL CHRISTMAS.

"It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that Zing -- doo wah, doo wah, doo wah, doo wah!"

~ FreeThinke

Always On Watch said...

FreeThinke,
Instead read Charles Dickens aloud to your children...

Dickens was MEANT to be read aloud and savored in that way.

As was the KJV.

Always On Watch said...

Silverfiddle,
In case I haven't done so, let me now wish you a Merry Christmas.

Not "Happy Holidays." Pffft to that saying.

Darth Bacon said...

Best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most joyous traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, but with respect for the religious persuasion of others who choose to practice their own religion as well as those who choose not to practice a religion at all.
Merry Christmas!

OD357 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
OD357 said...

It wouldn't be Christmas without some Cholula

Anonymous said...

I knew a Cholula once, but she spelled it T-A-L-L-U-L-A-H.

Her last name was Bankhead -- a fascinating and unique personality..

I never particularly associated her with Christmas, however.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

"Dickens was MEANT to be read aloud and savored in that way."

Oh yes, indeed, AOW. I am fortunate enough to have been born Before Television. One of my fondest memories is of my mother and father reading aloud to each other and to me in the evenings -- by the fireside in winter. It was wonderfully entertaining! Father's rendition of A Christmas Carol is still the best version I've heard yet -- or ever expect to hear.

It's too bad this great domestic pleasure seems to be receding into the dim, distant past, isn't it? Movies and TV certainly have their place, but homemade home entertainment -- fast becoming a lost art -- is better at nourishing the Soul and Spirit than the canned variety -- just as mother's Christmas cookies made from scratch with real butter and decorated by hand are so much more satisfying than anything you can buy in the store.

Hope your Christmas with Mr AOW and Cameo will be especially bright, AOW.

~ FreetThinke.

Leticia said...

I suppose "Holidays" is a combination of Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

However, I will never say that to anyone. For it is always, "Merry Christmas!"

God bless you and your family with a special Christmas day.

Anonymous said...

An Upside-Down Family Tree (excerpts)


http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/people-332895-women-percent.html


By MARK STEYN

Our lesson for today comes from the Gospel according to Luke. No, no, not the manger, the shepherds, the wise men, any of that stuff, but the other birth:

"But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John."

That bit of the Christmas story doesn't get a lot of attention, but it's in there. ... Of the four gospels, only two bother with the tale of Christ's birth, and only Luke begins with the tale of two pregnancies. Zacharias is surprised by his impending paternity – "for I am an old man and my wife well stricken in years." Nonetheless, an aged, barren woman conceives and, in the sixth month of Elisabeth's pregnancy, the angel visits her cousin Mary and tells her that she, too, will conceive.

If you read Luke, the virgin birth seems a logical extension of the earlier miracle – the pregnancy of an elderly lady. The physician-author had no difficulty accepting both. For Matthew, Jesus' birth is the miracle; Luke leaves you with the impression that all birth – all life – is to a degree miraculous and God-given. ...

The problem with the advanced West is not that it's broke but that it's old and barren. Which explains why it's broke. Take Greece, which has now become the most convenient shorthand for sovereign insolvency – "America's heading for the same fate as Greece if we don't change course," ... [Greece] has one of the lowest fertility rates on the planet. In Greece, 100 grandparents have 42 grandchildren – i.e., the family tree is upside down. In a social democratic state where workers ... retire at 50, there aren't enough young people around to pay for your three-decade retirement. ...

Look at it another way: ... If 100 geezers run up a bazillion dollars' worth of debt, is it likely that 42 youngsters will ever be able to pay it off? ... "Rural areas will see massive population decline, and some villages will simply disappear."

(CONTINUED)

Anonymous said...

CONCLUDED)

If the problem with socialism is, as Mrs. Thatcher says, that eventually you run out of other people's money, much of the West has advanced to the next stage: it's run out of other people, period. Greece is a land of ever-fewer customers and fewer workers but ever more retirees and more government. How do you grow your economy in an ever-shrinking market? ... In a recent poll, invited to state the "ideal" number of children, 16.6 percent of Germans answered "None." We are living in Zacharias and Elisabeth's world – by choice.

... The baby boomers did not have enough children to maintain the solvency of mid-20th century welfare systems premised on mid-20th century birthrates. ...

The notion of life as a self-growth experience is more radical than it sounds. For most of human history, functioning societies have honored the long run: ... A nation, a society, a community is a compact between past, present and future, in which the citizens ... "conceive of themselves, however unconsciously, as part of a great biological stream."
Much of the developed world has climbed out of the stream. You don't need to make material sacrifices: The state takes care of all that. You don't need to have children. And you certainly don't need to die for king and country. But a society that has nothing to die for has nothing to live for: It's no longer a stream, but a stagnant pool.

If you believe in God, the utilitarian argument for religion will seem insufficient ... "These are useful narratives we tell ourselves," as I once heard a wimpy Congregational pastor explain her position on the Bible. ... if Christianity is merely a "useful" story, it's a perfectly constructed one, beginning with the decision to establish Christ's divinity in the miracle of His birth. The hyper-rationalists ought at least to be able to understand that post-Christian "rationalism" has delivered much of Christendom to an utterly irrational business model: a pyramid scheme built on an upside-down pyramid. ...

By MARK STEYN

Submitted by FreeThinke

tha malcontent said...

I'd like to wish you and yours a very Merry and blessed Christmas as well, my friend.

Infidel de Manahatta said...

Merry Christmas!

Jersey McJones said...

I think holidays are about family and community celebrating what we have, and counting our blessings, our good fortunes and luck.

Many people of many different faiths, or without faith, celebrate each others' holidays. They see past the purely sectarian messages and appreciate the big universal themes.

And besides, many of these holidays well predate the religions anyway. For instance, the one we celebrate this Sunday. ;)

JMJ

Ducky's here said...

Have a Merry Christmas, Silverfiddle.

Hope it's a fulfilling day for your family.

Z said...

that might be the least favorite of anything Mark Steyn's said..for me, anyway. Sounds cynical.

Merry CHristmas to you all...absolutely NO Happy Holidays...pffft, is right, as AOW said!
I guess a "SEASON'S GREETING" could include "How're YOU? It's COLD out here, isn't it?" :-)
That doesn't cut it with me!

funny, I just commented to your Zuzu Story below and my word verification now here is 'zinsu'! >??

KP said...

Merry Christmas, Sliverfiddle. And the very best to all here and your families year round.

Always On Watch said...

FT,
I am fortunate enough to have been born Before Television. One of my fondest memories is of my mother and father reading aloud to each other and to me in the evenings -- by the fireside in winter.

Same here!

It is true that fewer parents today give their children this wonderful gift. A few of my homeschool parents do. In fact, the best readers I have in my classes are those children who were read to for several years by their parents. In fact, a few of those reading-loving families still gather around every evening and read aloud even though their children are now well past the age of needing to be read to; these families don't own TV sets except to watch DVD's. No cable service! These same students are excellent public speakers, BTW.

--------

Today, Christmas Eve, Mr. AOW and I are having dinner and the opening of presents with my younger cousin and her family; quite a long drive out there, but we'll make the journey to join with family. Tomorrow, Christmas Day, we are having dinner with our favorite neighbors. Mr. AOW is much better and more alert now, so we're anticipating two good days of socializing.

Anonymous said...

Good day to you, AOW!

I'm glad to hear of your Christmas plans. It all sounds so very nice. I hope your journey today goes well, and tomorrow brings both you and Mr. AOW much pleasure. I too will be dining with neighbors, since what little family I have left is far away.

Thank God for friends -- and faithful, loving wives and husbands -- and for so many wonderful memories. As I look back -- as one is bound to do when one gets older -- I realize more and more how very blest my life has been.

"All things work together for good to those who love God."

Often we don't realize it at the time, but I believe that's true.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, AOW!

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

My Goodness, Z!

If you were referring to Mark Steyn's article called "An Upside Down Family Tree," I can't imagine what could be cynical about it.

Our friend Mark features The Gospel According to St. Luke, claims Life, itself, is sacred and wonderful, urges those who still can to have more children, and lays claim to spirituality as being far more nourishing and significant than bowing to materialistic, "utilitarian" considerations.

I can't think of anything that could be less cynical and more life-affirming than that.

Some ancient philosophers have defined "Salvation" as "a turning of the mind." To me that means a carefully considered adjustment to the way we, as individuals, choose to look at Reality.

Is the glass half empty -- or it it half full?

It's up to each of us to decide for himself. Rather than argue about it, I long ago decided it was best to regard it as half full, and have been much the better for it.

May the joys of renewed hope, increased energy, true humility, and an expanded capacity for inner peace, contentment and good cheer be yours this Christmas, dear Z!

~ FreeThinke

Rob said...

Largly because of my upbringing where Christmas was strictly a religious event, I struggle with the commercialism of the whole thing. And all of the secular stuff - the intense focus on the Santa mythology, etc. make make me a little uneasy.

Still, it's a wonderful time of the year and I'm really enjoying seeing it through my son's eyes.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas

So, once again the Savior’s Birth draws near,
And once again we feel an Obligation
Much to spend before another year
Takes us to the Brink of Desperation.
Salvation offered freely as a Gift?
It surely has a catch in it somewhere;
Rarely do The Powers give a Lift ~~
Happy as they seem to strip us bare.
Christmas comes to change all that, however,
Yet so few can clearly see the Road
Reaching far beyond what’s merely clever
Revealing heaven’s Peace to each Abode.
Each rude Challenge met with hopeful Attitude
Makes a cheer-filled Life defined by Gratitude.


~ FreeThinke

Curmudgeon said...

I am sending my heartfelt wishes for the merriest of Christmases and the happiest of New Years to you and all the ones you hold dear.

"For unto you is born in the city of David a Saviour; which is Christ the Lord."--Luke 2:11

Anonymous said...

Two Kings

Yet if his majesty our sovereign lord,
Should, of his own accord,
Friendly himself invite,
And say, “I'll be your guest to-morrow night."

How should we stir ourselves, call and command all hands to work! "Let no man idle stand!

Set me fine Spanish tables in the hall,
See they are fitted all;

Let there be room to eat,
And orders taken that there want no meat.

See every sconce and candlestick made bright,
That without tapers they may give a light!”

But at the coming of the King of Heaven
All is set at six and seven:

We wallow in our sin.
Christ cannot find a chamber in the inn.

We entertain him always like a stranger,
And as at first, still lodge him in the manger
.


~ Thomas Ford, 1648.

This text has been wonderfully set to music for Mixed Voices and Brass Quintet by Joseph Clokey. I have not heard it performed since our high school choir did in it 1957, yet I've never forgotten it, and would love to hear it again.

Unfortunately, no version yet appears on YouTube.

~ FreeThinke

Silverfiddle said...

I too regret the lack of music, but that is a powerful Christmas poem.

Thanks, FT!

Anonymous said...

You're very welcome Kurt.

YouTube is a powerful medium for retrieving lost treasures -- if you know what you're looking for.

Have a wonderful Christmas, man. It must be great still to have little ones at home.

Enjoy!

~ FT

Anonymous said...

I like Chulla Redneckron

Anonymous said...

Who or what is Chulla Redneckron?

Hope your day was merry and bright.

~ FT