‘Tis The Season Of Good Will To All Men.
Except Brad, It Seems…
“I send you, my sailors and soldiers, hearty good wishes for Christmas and the New Year. My grateful thoughts are ever with you for victories gained, for hardships endured…
“We are still at war, but the Empire, confident in you, remains determined to win. May God bless you and protect you” – King George V. Christmas Message To His Troops, 1916.
In the constellation of Cygnus, in the outer reaches of a star, a photon is born. Created in the star’s photosphere, it surges into the depths of space. Its wish is to travel far; lo, this one is destined to hurtle towards Earth…
So here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody’s having fun.
Nah, not really…
Supposedly, this is the season of peace and goodwill, but News of armed police officers standing guard next to Nativity scenes at Christmas markets across Europe and the UK indicate that we continue to be far from achieving a basic sense of peace and goodwill.
When it matters most…
On a more local front, seasonal cheer is late getting to Brad Manor, if at all – Blimey, only put the tree up two nights ago…
Don’t get me wrong: this was always an exciting part of my childhood – great prezzies and happy times – but these days, when way more people have far less money, and thousands of families – yes, THOUSANDS of FAMILIES – will be spending the season without a home to call their own, it is difficult for me to get in the mood for mulled wine and hilarious chunky-knit jumpers.
Peace? Can’t even get piece of mind…
Don’t even hear a dickie bird from my “friends,” even at this time of year, so no parties then.
Fine, that just leaves more time to carry on with me blogging/writing, and rest with a gingerbread latte watching others chasing last-minute gifts, grub an’ grog.
However, at this site, there is ALWAYS peace unto you, dear Follower! Instead of playing an over-familiar novelty pop song, here is a recently-discovered delightful little gem, to make you merry:
“I love carols. I love their crashing chords when performed with bombast on church organs, and their thick layer of schmaltz when sung by Bing Crosby or Elvis. Oh, Come!” – Esther Addley.
The only time my Mother’s family got together for Christmas coincided with a Golden Anniversary jamboree back in 1990.
The crowning moment came shortly after one particularly humongous dinner. In the lounge, surrounded by most of the bairns, was my Dad – they had all gathered to catch the UK TV PREMIERE of Return of the Jedi!
Naturally, since he became One With The Force nearly eight years ago, this time of year will never seem the same again…
“Mary Bradley waits at home
In the nuclear fall-out zone
Wish I could be dancing now
In the arms of the girl I love
Wish I was at home for Christmas” – Jona Lewie.
The photon’s wavefunction, spreads out through all space, but is at its densest on the trajectory between Deneb’s Core and Earth – the journey will take about 1,500-3,000 years. But, from a quantum point of view, no time at all.
In my case, not Mary Bradley, but the lovely Mrs. Bradford. Sadly, every year its the same, spend yuletide with her on the tropical side of the world, or with Mum on the cold side.
If Brad were to take the first option, Mum would have to spend Christmas Day ON HER OWN.
Agonisingly, due to unforeseen circumstances (isn’t that always the cotton-pickin’ way?!) the two most precious people in my life have been denied the opp to meet.
It has been a particularly gruelling year – Mr. and Mrs. B have both endured a very tough year.
Despite being a Buddhist and Christmas holding little meaning for her – and with countless couples spending the season apart for one reason or another anyway – our thoughts are already jumping ahead to the New Year, and our fantastic reunion.
“Half a dinare for me bloody life story?”
“There’s no pleasing some people.”
“That’s just what Jesus said, sir.”
“Well, what are you doing creeping around a cow shed at two o’clock in the morning? That doesn’t sound very wise to me” – Mother of Brian.
The voyage of Starlight ends at the back of your eye when you look up at the night sky. The photon hits a blue-sensitive cell in your retina. Its last act is to trigger a nerve that helps you see a bright blue-white point in the constellation of Cygnus – and then it’s gone.
The most famous photon of all “arrived” above Bethlehem at what most experts agree was at some point during September in the year 6 BCE.
Three “kings” were its most famous – but least understood – observers. That is the one aspect of the Nativity story that has always fascinated me. What niggled me – even at school age – is why these mysterious (royal?) Three Amigos “Of Orient Are” should be “summoned” to an unremarkable stable in the back of beyond?
“Their robes were of crimson silk with rows,
Of bells and pomegranates and furbelows.
Their turbans like blossoming almond-trees.”
It’s true, this Boy Wonder – huzzah! – was selected to “play” one of these travellers, but further – and fruitless! – enquiries into everything, from their origins to my motivation, just got me banished to the anonymous throng of the Choir, thus denying me the chance to lug a tissue box bedecked in technicolour foil across the school hall stage in front of a gaggle of proud, camera-clicking parents.
In popular tradition, they are called Melchior, Balthazar and Gaspar, “kings” respectively of Arabia and Nubia, Godolia and Tarsus. Modern Christmas cards portray them plodding through alien territory, unescorted and unprotected. Never, in World History, has any king travelled anywhere without an extensive retinue of servants, slaves and what-have-you! Preposterous!
Matthew – the only Gospel source – more accurately referred to them as magoi, signifying “wise men.” Most likely, they were Persian Magi – scholars of the Zoroastrian faith. Moreover, they were said to represent all three ages of man: 20, 40 and 60 respectively.
But what mixed-up Mickey Mouse “wisdom” recommends gold, frankincense… and myrrh(?!) as ideal gifts for a newborn?
True, the first item is ideal for the mother to arrange daycare, etc. but what the blazes is she to do with the other two?! As one modern source so eloquently “quoted” Mary:
“Three wise men, and no one brought chocolate?!”
Speaking of chocolate, my stocking WILL contain the Star Wars Chocolate Selection: The Force Awakens and Rogue One are simply scrumptious; looking forward to gorging again and again on Empire Strikes Back; but Attack Of The Clones disagrees with me. That’s one great disturbance my digestive season could well do without this weekend…
While everybody lounges indoors keeping warm in front of their new box sets, your ex-magoi is wishing that the clouds won’t block my view of the constellations. The street lights cut out around midnight, and the Night Sky from our neighbourhood truly is a sight to behold.
Whatever, there are plenty of mince pies waiting in the larder, and there are plenty of Marvel movies lying on the DVD Player, so some seasonal cheer might – just might -pervade this household after all!
Sincerely hoping YOU get what you want this Christmas:
Wishing you all a Very Merry Gingerbread Latte and a Happy New Cranberry Muffin