A Christmas miscellany for jaded palates



Yes, Christmas is over-commercialised (I wonder if an alien visiting the UK would think that it’s a celebration of Marks and Spencer finding no room at the furniture store and then receiving gifts of ipods, sausage rolls and Coca Cola?).

Yes, the festival itself is at risk from people who’d like to rename/rebrand it in the cause of political correctness gone mad.

Yes, there’s drunken drivers and over-consumption and Scrooges all around.

And yet, and yet…

The light still shines in the darkness and the darkness has never overcome it or understood it. So I give you a platter set not with prawn bites and pigs in blankets, but things to bring good cheer. (Erastes apologises for the formatting, but WordPress is being a pig today for some reason)

A possible sighting of Angels (or not?)

“The irreducible details about the incident of the Angel of Mons seem to be that a small force of regular soldiers representing a nation with an oral tradition of combat success due to divine participation had a narrow escape against a vastly more numerous opponent at Mons in August, 1914.”

(From Legends and traditions of the Great War

A certain sighting of an angel (home made)

Joseph (who never gets enough said about him)

“Did I miss something? Did I, God?
When you sent the angel and spoke of the son being born—this isn’t what I pictured. I envisioned Jerusalem, the temple, the priests, and the people gathered to watch. A pageant perhaps. A parade. A banquet at least. I mean, this is the Messiah!

Or, if not born in Jerusalem, how about Nazareth? Wouldn’t Nazareth have been better?”

(Joseph’s Prayer by Max Lucado

The smiles of children.

The Wise Men

“A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The was deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.”

(The Journey of the Magi T S Eliot

Out of the mouths of children:
From the local school’s Nativity play, written by six and seven year olds. “Mary was feeling worried because she hadn’t had a baby before. She might not have wanted a baby because it would be too expensive as they already had to buy clothes and food for themselves.”
Good will to all men.

Frank Sumpter, from Forgotten Voices of the Great War: A History of World War I in the Words of the Men and Women Who Were There, Max Arthur.

December 25th 1914
“There were no shots fired and some people enjoyed the curiosity of walking around in no man’s land. It was good to walk around. As a sign of their friendliness the Germans put up a sign saying “Gott mit uns” which means “God is with us” and so we put a sign in English saying “We got mittens, too”.

Advent Calendar Giveaway!

And finally a present from me.

Your own little story, to be delivered by Twelfth Night, featuring any two of my characters (you can mix and match them) and a prompt of your choosing. Mail me at Cochrane.charlie2@googlemail.com and I’ll choose a winner.

20 Responses

  1. LOL! I think I’m going to adopt ‘got mittens’ for my Christmas greeting too. How funny 😀

  2. Great quotes, Charlie. Thank you and merry mittens to you…LOL

  3. Fantastic antidote to the rampant commercialism around us!

    The Joseph bit really made me think about how confusing it must have been for him – and the mittens bit was just wonderful! 😀

    • Thanks. I try to keep away from anything which offers you ‘the perfect christmas meal/present/experience/whatever’ as it always smacks of stress and disappointment. these are the sort of things which make Christmas for me.


  4. Thanks for reminding me just why we celebrate at this time of year.


  5. Oh, Charlie, loved the mittens.
    And thanks for bringing all those truly beautiful moments to the calendar.
    For some reason I thought of one of my favorite Christmas events from long ago.
    “Amahl and the Night Visitor” used to be the annual seasonal offering on TV years ago. I used to sing along with the songs, they were so familiar.
    Great post.

    • I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. I love all sorts of tradtional things, anything which gets back to the real heart of the season and the story; love God, love your neighbour – something which fits any creed.


  6. Forgotten Voices. I have that one. One of the best for ripping your heart out and tearing it into tiny pieces. I can just imagine how unreal that felt, to stop the fighting briefly, all the while knowing it would resume shortly. To know these men on the other side were people you should have been friends with, rather than pointing a gun at.

    Your post resonates. The superficial level at which so many people approach Christmas now is depressing. We try to keep the holidays as quiet and simple as we can. All is calm, all is bright. 😀 If you can’t find peace at Christmas, when can you?

    • I love all of Max Arthur’s books. I have one with pictures from WWI which I’m struggling to finish. really poignant.

      Christmas here doesn’t tend to be calm, especially not in the run up with so much going on, although we try to be busy with things which really matter.

      Ah, peace. I’m looking forward to a few days of it.


  7. Thanks m’dear C. You managed to remind me why I like Christmas again. xxx

  8. Charlie, this is a very timely post. I found myself smiling all the way through it.

  9. Nice post, Charlie. Or should I say Desperate Old Bag?

  10. Hey Charlie!

    Simple. Natural. Well done!

    You’re such a class act!

    (now off to think of some promts! I can’t think of a better Christmas/birthday/New Years present for me)

    I’ll spit on the keyboard for a measure of luck!

    • Thanks, George. Once I started to think of cheery things it was easy to put together a list. Wish I’d included the peal of church bells…


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