↓ Archives ↓

Posts Tagged → Christmas

Rockville’s big tree

Every year over the past ten years around Christmas a family in the Rockville neighborhood north of Harrisburg has put up a beautiful light array on their yard tree.
It’s now so pretty that people come from all around to admire it. It’s one of those small local things that brings a community together. I like sharing it here.

Christmas, America’s Holiday

Whatever your religion, if you live in America, today is Christmas, our national holiday.
It’s at the very least a time of peace, goodwill, cheer, and merriment for everyone here. For religious Christians, it’s obviously more than all that.
Enjoy this time. Savor it. Every moment. Savor and be thankful for all the good relationships, the happy moments, the love each of us can share with others. Don’t take anything for granted, nothing: Not the people around us, the incredible opportunities that America uniquely gives us, not the unique freedom here. Cherish it all, celebrate it.
Merry Christmas, America, Merry Christmas, friends.

The Spirit of the Season

Today is Christmas Day, America’s national holiday at least as much as Thanksgiving Day. It is a day of good cheer, happiness, kindness, family, acts of charity, rest and relaxation; a Sabbath of sorts. Across Western Civilization this day has played several different roles and in different formats over the past thousand years, the earliest being solely religious and quite somber. The later versions of Christmas being a non-offending marriage between Christianity and northern European paganism, and being more celebratory.

Christmas as we know it now is largely a creation of Englishman Charles Dickens, who decried the caste system’s forced poverty and lack of Christian charity in his own land, and whose 1843 book A Christmas Carol championed the triumph of kindness and generosity to all over greed and miserly wealth. A literal ghostly spirit of Christmas invaded old man Scrooge’s otherwise selfish life, and left him a changed man. Scrooge’s personal changes, in the true spirit of Christmas Day, then resulted in a domino effect of increasing happiness and beneficence spreading outward from the formerly unhappy and mean old man to all those around him and beyond.

Dickens’ powerful message was a seed that grew wildly in fertile soil, as the contemporaneous Industrial Revolution had created a great amount of wealth and also a great many have-nots. And a hundred years later downtown Manhattan USA at Christmastime was full of powerful images and themes drawn directly from Dickens’ writings. That resulting Christmas culture has spread far and wide, and is now a mix of all the good stuff, including spirituality and morality, along with some old fashioned American consumerism. This has all morphed into the modern version of Christmas most Americans practice or at least enjoy today. It is kind of a third version of Christmas.

But if we go back to its beginning, Christmas Day is closely linked to Christianity’s predecessor, Judaism, and its own festive holiday of Chanuka. Christmas Day always starts on the 25th of December, which is usually right around the Hebrew date of 25th of Kislev, the start of Chanuka. While Chanuka has eight days, Christmas has twelve (similar to Passover having eight days and Easter’s Holy Week having seven at least, and possibly more, depending upon where one lives). And if we then immediately fast-forward back to the present, we see that Christmas has profoundly influenced the practice and understanding of Chanuka. Chanuka now being a heavily mysticized and joyful celebration of a vague miracle involving some olive oil. If you dig deep, you might get an American Jew to tell you that Chanuka is generally about individual freedom, and freedom of religion specifically.

Truth is, Chanuka was indeed originally about freedom, but the kind of freedom we Westerners no longer seem to value, or which we seem to take for granted.

Chanuka is described at hebcal.com as “Hanukkah (Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה, usually spelled חנוכה … in Modern Hebrew, also romanized as Chanukah or Chanuka), also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.”

OK, but what was the Maccabean Revolt, you ask? Ah ha, here we have suddenly discovered the true spirit of Chanuka! And one could surmise, the true spirit of Today’s Christmas Day, as well, heir as it is to Chanuka.

The Maccabean Revolt was a true-life rebellion by a small group of totally dedicated, religiously pure Jewish families against an enormous Assyrian empire that was then occupying then-Israel/Judea, roughly 2,200 years ago. It is the triumph of the little guy over the big bad bully; the triumph of monotheism over evil paganism; morality over immorality. Chanuka is the story of winning freedom by the edge of the sword, at total risk of one’s own survival. Those Jews who then strapped on a sword and successfully fought to the death over several generations to rid themselves of the yoke of Assyrian slavery, then set in motion so many future events. Like the subsequent existence of Jesus, the eventual creation of Christianity, and the resulting creation of Christmas Day by people seeking to directly link the day with Chanuka.

Early Christmas was observed by religious Christians as a day of spiritual freedom, similar to the Chanuka celebration of national freedom and sovereignty, without which there was no spiritual freedom for the Jews, whose Temple service had been disrupted by the Assyrian occupation. Which makes one wonder, in the context of where we are right now, December 25th 2020 , as America is poised to be captured and subjugated by China through its secret treaties with Joe Biden, Big Media, and Big Tech…. what was and is the true, original spirit of Christmas Day, and does it have relevance for us right now?

Religious Christians will provide an orthodox Christian perspective, but it is no stretch to say that today’s Christmas spirit could use a heavy dose of the original Chanuka spirit. We need some of that old time religion. We need a modern equivalent of the Maccabean Revolt against the fraudulent, illegal election that just took place, in which America as we have known her for 244 years is about to collapse and be replaced by repression and slavery.

So, I will raise a glass of eggnog to everyone in the spirit of good Christmas cheer. Salud! And I will also raise the American symbol of freedom, defiance, and sovereignty in salute of the brave American citizens who we know are the last hope of restoring our republic: The American longrifle and its updated equivalent, the AR15.

Merry Christmas! May the ancient spirit of the Maccabees fill every patriot heart.

 

Giving Thanks for Being an American

Thanksgiving Day may have originated three hundred years ago, when the first Pilgrims were starving to death in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and they were saved by local Indians who took pity on them, but it is still our big national holiday for the same sort of reasons today.

Native pumpkin squash, beans, wild turkey, and cranberry jelly that is native to the cranberry bogs of Massachusetts have ever since been the symbolic food at which we rejoice for our great good fortune for living in America, no matter where we live.

America is the freest country with the most opportunity available to the most people in the world. What an incredible place.

The symbolism of our unique national holiday food – turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin squash etc – is similar in meaning to the food of other nationalities and cultures. For example, the matza “bread of affliction” flatbread eaten every Passover by religiously observant Jews is a reminder of their own escape from hard slavery into newfound freedom. Many South American cultures form round breads from maize (corn, which is native to the Americas) and yams that are symbolic of how they eat together in a family circle. The French (and Italian) diet of bread, cheese, and wine may seem hedonistic on its face, but when one considers that even free French (and Italian) peasants had fertile land to farm and live on, their national food and drink make perfect sense. And so on for so many other cultures.

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans. Enjoy this day together, unified as one people in union, heading on the same path of freedom together. We might be in tough times together right now, but we should take every opportunity to celebrate our shared identities. During the first (or second) American Civil War, soldiers on both the Union and Confederate lines would gather on Thanksgiving and Christmas nights to serenade each other with religious songs. In World War One, both German soldiers and Allied soldiers would sing Christmas songs back and forth to each other across the waste lands filled with destroyed men and war machines. My God, friends, if they could gather in peace one night a year, then how much more so can we Americans today gather together and wish each other

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, for we each have much to give thanks to God for!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, folks*

In case you are one of the three people who regularly read this web site, then you have noticed that a good long while has passed since anything overtly political was posted. There is a good reason for this, and it is because weeks ago we entered the really best, nicest time of the year.

We are in Christmastime, the weeks preceding and the weeks following Christmas, a time of peace and reflection, neighborliness, good cheer and charity.

Yes, there have been a lot of politics worth writing about, but you know what? I just did not feel like writing about frustrating, conflict-filled current events. More than anything I am enjoying basking in the glow of what should be, what must be, a time of togetherness and common good purpose.

If you are a religious Christian, then you may object to all this namby pamby touchy-feely do-gooder happy time stuff. You know what I am talking about, the kind of Miracle on 34th Street feeling.

I am sorry if you feel this way, but I have yet to encounter any religion or religious sensibility that evokes the kind of generous togetherness that that particular product of Hollywood disseminated, or that the basic Christmastime in America has uniquely produced.

And so yes, I am a cheerful proponent of the old fashioned commercialized Christmas, because I am a proponent of simple happiness and brotherhood, old fashioned American identity.

Merry Christmas, friends, and may 2019 be a year of happy prosperity for you and all those whom you love. See you then, in 2019!

UPDATE: Bob Durgin died today, at noon, on Christmas Eve. Durgin was the very long time growly voiced challenger to all things Politically Correct and Big Government at WHP580 radio station here in Harrisburg. Bob was perpetually frustrated and then verbally evocative by examples of how bad government touched people’s lives in the Central Pennsylvania region. He was the last of a line of gruff and rough and tough-talking radio talk show hosts who really said what he meant and he said it in a way that left no doubt in the listener’s mind. Bob frequently invited government officials on his show to speak about their actions, and he spared no one from a serious grilling. He was often the next-day public response to the local establishment media “newspaper” Patriot News propaganda and leftwing political activism masquerading as news or real information. I was a guest on Bob’s show a number of times, for different reasons. The one time I recall best was when he got on me about being an “environmentalist,” to which I responded that I am a hunter, conservationist, and a life member of the NRA. He was openly puzzled by this, and you could feel the wheels turning in his head as he was trying to find the right words live on the air to either hit me over the head or hug me. I jumped in and said something like “Bob, I am like Teddy Roosevelt, a hunter conservationist,” which provided immediate relief and approval and the ability to keep the interview moving along without a hitch. Good gosh will I miss Bob Durgin. Rest in peace, cowboy.

Whatever your religious belief, our nation now basks in goodness

Christmas is America’s national holiday, and while there are many Christians reminding fellow citizens that there is a more spiritual and faith based core to the holiday, it is, in fact, a glorious time of year no matter what your religious beliefs may be.

Seven days ago, Hanuka began on the 25th day of the Hebrew month Kislev, as usual. Just after Hanuka ends this year, tomorrow night, Christmas will then begin on the 25th day of the Gregorian month of December, as usual.

The two holidays are naturally linked, as early Christians both tied their new religion to the parent faith with a holiday (“Holy Day”) on nearly identical dates, and then separated from it from Hanuka with a new holiday, “Christ’s Mass,” which has been turned into a conjunction, Christmas.

Much has been said about the Judeo-Christian roots of America, and our Christmas holiday is just one more example of that shared religious basis of our nation’s founding. It is a testament to the tolerant and open sensibility at the root of American identity, to shared values among many different people.

You don’t have to be Jewish to like Jewish-style rye bread, and you don’t have to be Christian to enjoy Christmas. Every American should enjoy Christmas, and wish one another a Merry Christmas. There is no declaration of faith in that, but rather it is a declaration of love for all things good and for a shared, common identity in a truly good nation.

Probably the only really good nation on the planet: We have the rule of law, more opportunity than anywhere else, the highest standard of living, etc. Christmas crowns that all at the end of the year, and it reminds us that the sum total of our year is simply good.

In that spirit of goodness, I wish all my fellow Americans and our many guests here Happy Hanuka, and Merry Christmas!

Hunting season preparations – Xmas in July

Though hunting seasons may be many months away, the truth is that hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania hunters are quietly sorting out their plans far ahead of time.  Doe tags, DMAP tags, licenses and berths in a Quebec hunting camp for black bear and caribou, a camping permit for an ADK wilderness…it is all lining up now across the state.

Summertime preparations for Fall and wintertime hunting activities are a sign that yet another round of sustainable, renewable economic development is upon us here.  After all, hunting is a $2.8 billion industry (or business sector, or economic sector) in Pennsylvania.  Hunters are a renewable, and sustainable source of income and economic activity, so long as they have places to hunt.

Longingly fondling old, trusted firearms and bows, sighting them in on the sitting room wall or at the range, hunters can already smell that clean air, feel that cool breeze upon the cheek, and hear dead leaves rustle under foot, if they but close their eyes and imagine it.

It is Christmas in July now, as hunters across the Commonwealth gear up, trim up, and make sure everything is in order for that best time of the year: Hunting season.

Merry Christmas to one and all!

However it evolved into a fake insult, saying Merry Christmas is still the nicest thing one American can say to another.

Christmas is our national holiday. Religious Christians fret over its secularization, and certainly the commercilization and materialism surrounding Christmas stand in contrast to its roots.

But thanks in great part to 19th century British writer Charles Dickens, Christmas is, for all people, a time of cheer, good will towards one another, an abandonment of grudges, an embracing of love as the preferred force in human relations.

So, secularized as this all may be at this point, the message and culture now surrounding Christmas is good stuff.

So, whether you are Christian, Buddhist, Jew, Muslim, Baha’i, Zoroastrian, or pagan, I wish you a very Merry Christmas. You’re an American, you’ve earned it.

Happy New Year, Everyone

Although 99% of my subject matter is usually politics in some form or another, there are times when words should fail and feelings must dominate. Thus it has been these past eight days, consumed with irreplaceable family time, visits with dear friends and distant family, and with no time or stomach for debate or bickering. Charles Dickens challenged his readers to find some time to respect and love one another, to take a break from the mundane and instead exalt the simple pleasures of life. And unless a person is a Scrooge, how can we not happily embrace this time of the year, and but smile at those around us?
Happy New Year, everyone. May your new year be successful, pleasant, and filled with the love and respect of those you care about. Here’s to you…

Sandy Hook Tragedy Has Me on “Hold”

The Sandy Hook tragedy has me on hold right now.

Several friends have asked when I will write a piece about the massacre, and all I can say is that neither I nor the situation are right. Yes, some tasteless people immediately jumped on the anti-gun bandwagon, but what do you expect from Senators Schumer, Feinstein, and Boxer? From Obama? Their agenda is anti-freedom, and they are ready to pounce at any moment, ready to exploit any crisis for political gain.

Guns are dangerous tools, and I can tell you about my own close calls with guns throughout my life, a life of hunting, target shooting, and self-defense. Guns require diligence and caution always, and the second you let down your guard with a gun is the moment your life will change for the worse. But that is not a reason to try and ban them.

A well-written article is coming out soon, just as soon as I can clear the pain and horror from my mind. I am a father of three kids, and that’s all I can think about: Those little kids, and their parents. No policy, no politics can share room in my head and heart with that, yet.

Merry Christmas, friends, Merry Christmas.