Friday, December 28, 2012

More on Traditions

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I had this idea of expanding the subject of traditions back in September, but the timing was all off because the holiday season was not yet upon us.  Then something else happened.  I think we call it life and obligations.   Now that time has been kind and the holiday season is or was in full swing.  With the time remaining  I will broach this subject again.   In my first post on traditions I stated that traditions were like a bee hive.  Bee hives, obviously, house bees.  They are a necessary part of our environment.  They provide cross pollination for plants; provide honey and other house hold products.  At least that is what a few web sites said before I stumbled upon (no relation to the app by that name) a vegan site which excoriated bee keepers and animal products.

Once again, no pun intended; on that stinging comment (excoriate…. Stinging… ha ha)

The holidays are prone to endless holiday music, cooking, eating, festivities, drinking, partying and for most the last thing on their mind is church.  I wish to expand on this later as well.  Regardless of what people in our post-modern world say about Christianity, It is because of God (what we would have stated as divine providence a few hundred years ago) that the Western world is what is has become.  Some would state that the church has held back the world from greater heights, but this is just nonsense.  The fall of the Roman Empire would have happened a few hundred years earlier if Constantine had not “embraced” (or should we say tolerated)  Christianity, at least in some form or another, and the world would have degenerated even farther down a black hole in history had it not been for the church and divine providence.

What we tend to forget as a postmodern society living in the early 21st century is that we all came from somewhere.  Everyone in America originally came from somewhere else!  In my case I can trace a common ancestor back to about 1746 in Opelousas, Louisiana.  He was a busy fellow that had a white wife and about four children, and then an African slave wife who bore him 2 sons.  Thank you Catholic baptismal church records! (Here’s an article about Susan Guillory-Phipps) This is only a portion of where my family came from.  Most of America came from Europe, which was once part of the Roman Empire.  Latin was the universal language of the learned for hundreds of years after Rome’s fall, and many words, tools, mannerisms and yes, traditions can be seen in some way, shape or form in what we do today.  As an example, look at the Catholic Mass.  This liturgy is ancient yet it is an honored tradition that is even seen in fragments by the Anglicans, Methodists, Lutherans and Presbyterians!

We all came from somewhere and bear the marks of our past. The past is serves as  a road map to show were we've been
An 18th century View of the Americas

We continue to live based on how we were raised and live life as we know how to… albeit some don’t do it very well.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012

Here it is Christmas day!
I believe a leading cause to general unhappiness is lack of appreciation for what things really mean.  Just recently we celebrated Christmas eveat my in laws house, and they are down sizing.  Let me tell you exactly what this means.  My father in law is 80 and is getting a bit morbid about his remaining time on earth.  So he announced that they were selling their rural house In January.  Sometime afterwards, he stated “Anyone want any of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books?”  This is like offering a mouse cheese! One  caught my eye and I began to read. I ran across an interesting statement that said:

Cynics know the price of everything and the value of nothing!

Our family tree this year: a tradition

I have often told people, jokingly, that I was a bit of a cynic.  Maybe I should watch my words in the future!  I wanted to start a discussion on traditions and gave it some thought but didn’t commit to writing until recently.  I thought of how culture plays a large role in tradition.   Just like processed lunch meat or sausage: everyone loves it, but no one wants to really know what is in it!  The idea of having a winter festival comes from long traditions seeped in paganism.
Any student of history can attest to December 21st as being the winter solstice and what followed in most cultures.  Romans celebrated a couple of winter festivals like Saturnalia and Juvenilia.  Saturn was the tutor of Dionysius  the Greek god of wine (and partying)  Saturn was a lush and often depicted having a white beard and rosy red cheeks . . . oh well I guess you get the point!  Juvenilia was a celebration of children (You guessed it… where we get the word Juvenile from).  From what I also understand the Norse celebrated a season of Yule and cut down a very large log to burn during their festival as well.  Remember:  No one wants to really know what’s in sausage or lunch meat!
 After getting everyone down, (please don’t say ‘that’s a lot of bologna!’) let me ask this rhetorical question: was it not a stroke of genius to take the shortest day of the year to celebrate the birth of the greatest light mankind has ever known?   

  • A day so powerful with Jesus birth that it has permanently split time in half! (BC and AD)

  • A man who never raised an army but has made enemies stack arms and serve him!

  • A man who commanded nature by walking on water and saying to the storm “peace be still”?

Regardless of circumstances men and women will always find a way to sin! And the righteous will always find a way to praise God!  It is best  to take a quiet moment to reflect on this simple truth: In a world filled with unhappiness, loneliness and  turmoil, we can find the great light and the prince of Peace!