Friday, December 06, 2013
I've been thinking of the annual hysteria about the so-called "war on Christmas," and something came to me. One of my favorite writers is C.S. Lewis,
And one of his most famous books is called the Screwtape Letters.
letters from a senior devil to his apprentice. Something really inspired me to write a 21st Century version of a letter. I'd like to share it with you:
My Dear Wormwood:
Your last letter made me wonder if you were asleep at the last briefing. You mention alarm that your patient is alerting his companions on this 'war on Christmas,' mobilizing his companions to make sure merchants say Merry Christmas.
I wish you would listen to your betters. Your patient is playing into our hands. Yes, there is a war on Christmas, but not on the battlefield these Christians expect. Misdirection, my dear Wormwood, misdirection is the key! There is no harm alerting these people to this war, as long as they are directed to all the wrong battlefields.
Notice how he snarls at poor, beleaguered clerks who dare say things like “Happy Holidays,” and screams at them to say “Merry Christmas,” then walks away smug and self-satisfied that he has obeyed the Enemy's directive, or so he thinks, leaving bewildered clerks in his wake. It encourages them to indulge in our cardinal virtue, the one known as Pride.
We need to encourage them to do what the Enemy discourages, to strain at gnats and swallow camels, and so they think they are winning this war, when they are nowhere near the right battlefield.
It has not been our aim at all to “take Christ out of Christmas.” Indeed, we encouage it, as long as they leave the Enemy's Son as a helpless babe in the manger. And after the festival, he is forgotten, the nativity scenes are put away for another year, and the sentiments around it are once again swept away like the pine needles of their Christmas trees.
Not that we haven't tried to take Him out. The very first one, we tried to squelch the event of His birth. We moved upon Herod, who was ours from the beginning, that this Child was a threat to his rule. He moved immediately to slaughter all born on that date, even hedging his bets by killing all two years and younger. And so we thought, problem solved. The prophecy was nipped in the bud. It was only later that we discovered that our quarry had escaped. We had killed all the children except one that got away to Egypt. The Enemy was too quick for us.
Remember the hoopla about the word “Xmas,” which was an ancient abbreviation called a nomina sacra? An abrreviation for Christmas? People screamed it was an attempt by atheists to “X” out the name of the Enemy. It wasn't, but we made people think it was. We've been trying to do that for ages, and have yet to find the secret to doing it, Herod's actions being an example.
No, that hasn't been our aim. Our true goal is to take all the “Merry” out of Christmas. And our strategy is many-pronged. One is exciting the merchants to avarice, and the rush of people tend to a weariness and draining of joy from the holiday, and so there is no merriment left.
Another is the misdirection we are doing. In spreading hysteria that there is a war on Christmas and urging these poor fools to make blacklists of stores that do or do not observe Christmas, we lead them around by the nose in every direction we please, and blind them to our true war on the holiday.
One master stroke of genius happened during the Puritan era, when Christmas was banned altogether. They pointed out pagan practices in it and so, “threw the baby out with the bath water.” Somber criers went through the villages clanging harsh bells, crying out “No Christmas! No Christmas!” And so the joy was extinguished.
Causing people to bemoan and bewail the events of this holiday plays into our hands, once again taking the Merry out of Christmas, encouraging the sober, austere spirit we value in the realm of Our Father Below.
So remember, Wormwood, we are not to teach, but to becloud and misdirect. Do that, and the danger of this season is blunted if not completely squelched.
Your affectionate uncle,
Let's light a candle in this Advent season, spreading the hope.
a light in the midst of darkness, hope in the midst of despair.
Then, we shall truly put the 'Merry' back into Christmas.
And be kind to us poor, overworked cashiers as well.
Monday, November 25, 2013
It's simply amazing!
happen on the same day for the first time in over a hundred years!
There's more to celebrate!
So let's do it!
Let's combine the two, with turkey,
and then go watch football,
while we spin the dreidel.
But let's not forget to give thanks for all our good things.
And keep it healthy.
And not forget to exercise, even on that day.
And try to keep away from the insanity of Black Friday,
which happens earlier and earlier. They're planning on having it on 6 pm on Thanksgiving this year, no time to have any turkey this year. Crazy!
So let's make it a happy day!
And Gobble Tov!
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Just a short blog, but a loaded one. Have you been frustrated in your weight loss journey? I have!
I've been screaming at that scale. 2013 hasn't been kind to me like last year was.
Well, a little mouse has something to say to us all.
Look at this video, and learn what it is to have persistence and never give up until you attain your goal!
It appears this little mouse can teach us a lot. If I really want it, then I keep trying no matter how impossible it seems.
So, thank you, little mouse. You're fearless, resourceful and have taught me a lot.
And, you're very lucky as well.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Have you felt like a Dilbert cartoon, that you've been darned to heck?
That this Beatles song "Nowhere Man" is your phase of the journey now?
It's easy to get into a rut, as I said in my last blog about acedia, or sloth.
It's getting out of it that's the problem.
Not to settle for mediocrity.
which isn't always where we've been.
It's time to rise above it.
As in the Dilbert cartoon above, our 'heck' is to be condemned to the same thing every day.
What we need is passion,
To be willing to choose to change, remembering who we are.
To see things differently.
Passion is the key!
Enjoy life again!
Try something new, and spice up your life!
Let's get up out of the rut we're in,
As in that story The Phantom Tollbooth, we've been stuck in the doldrums too long!
And I'm glad for Tock, the Watchdog!
So come with me!
and together with Tock, we'll get out of the doldrums, and get the eye of the tiger again!
This song is now our theme!
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
The monks of old had a list they called the Seven Deadly Sins. The list went this way:
Superbia (pride), Invidia (envy) Ira (wrath) Avaritia (greed) Gula (gluttony)
That's one of the Big Seven we're all familiar with here on Spark People.
However, this isn't the one I'm talking about today. Continuing the list, is Luxuria, (Lust) and the last one is one that always flies under the radar, and is my greatest temptation this year.
It is the one called Acedia.
Commonly called "sloth."
It's often identified with laziness,
But there's far more to it, which makes it particularly deadly. This year has been a discouraging year for me after the great accomplishments of last year. I've been on a year-long plateau,
The scale hasn't been kind to me,
And the temptation is to say "What's the use?"
Throw in the towel,
and just give up.
Which is the perfect description of Acedia. Dorothy Sayers once said
"The Church names the sixth Deadly Sin Acedia or Sloth. In the world, it calls itself Tolerance; but in Hell it is called Despair. It is the accomplice of the other sins and their worst punishment. It is the sin which believes in nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, loves nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and only remains alive because there is nothing it would die for. We have known it far too well for many years. The only thing perhaps that we have not known about it is that it is mortal sin." Sayers, "The Other Six Deadly Sins."
Its effect is shown graphically in this clip from The Neverending Story, where the horse Artax dies from it in the swamps of sadness:
is a deadly crossroad that is easy to fall into when things aren't going the way you want to.
when you just don't care anymore.
And that is when I need all of you Sparkers.
For it is a dangerous time, one we all face though we don't know how we got there.
The step out of the swamp is hard,
But the alternative
is deadly. The way out needs help
To start caring again,
regaining the lost passion,
when it's so easy to doze off into a fatal lethargy.
In other words, don't give up, CARE!
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