I’m sorry, but I turn into a total pagan at Christmas. Ironically, if you know my faith…

I yearn for burning logs, the green leaves, dancing firelight, dark nights, bleak marshy landscapes, ice and snow, silence wrapping the world around, hunting for firewood and food. Solstice - turn around - turn again. A holy pause.

If only there were wolves for there should be wolfish and fanged loneliness at this time of year as well as fellowship. We are divided beings — not at one with ourselves and sometimes we need to BE the other — the not-safe ones. (Read the Good Woman of Szechuan by Bertolt Brecht.)

I balance this hunger with a yearning for medieval celebration — singing carols, feasting and family…

So please listen to this song… my favourite for this time of year. It speaks of the heart’s need for the other… be that God or god, we are incomplete and Winter in its scavenging and criminal darkness, in its cold closed skies shows our weakness. We are without hope… maybe…

Here are the lyrics:

All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants’ windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
As the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around their hearths and tables
Giving thanks for all god’s graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus
Well they call him by the prince of peace
And they call him by the savior
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
As they fill his churches with their pride and gold
And their faith in him increases
But they’ve turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber’s den
In the words of the rebel Jesus
We guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why they are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus
But please forgive me if I seem
To take the tone of judgement
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In this life of hardship and of earthly toil
We have need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus.

I grew up in East Anglia where it’s easy to be bleak. We mostly welcome this! It stengthens the soul while sending most of the inhabitants stark raving mad. But only mad in a British and whimsical manner ;-)


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