Am opting for a more conventional mode of transport than reindeer sleigh as I make my getaway to be with my family, for what is euphemistically called xmas, festive or holiday celebrations.
But I personally prefer Christmas with all its original emphasis. Whether the suffix ‘mas’ refers to Anglo Saxon maesse ‘to send’ or mass as in Catholic Latin meaning ‘death sacrifice’ – both are effectively apt, as Eliot puts it in the “Journey of the Magi”
“Were we led all that way for Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly, We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death, But had thought they were different; this Birth was Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.”
Since the Greek term ‘Christ’ means Messiah, in his own Hebrew language it would be ‘Mesiachmas’ but that is too much of a mouthful. Besides, I’m far too weary of politically correct revisionism in whatever direction it emanates from so I stick with ‘Christmas’ and have recently discovered and enjoyed extracts from Auden’s lengthy Christmas Oratorio:-
“He is the Way.
Follow Him through the Land of Unlikeness;
You will see rare beasts, and have unique adventures.
He is the Truth.
Seek Him in the Kingdom of Anxiety;
You will come to a great city that has expected your return for years
He is the Life.
Love Him in the World of the Flesh;
And at your marriage all its occasions shall dance for joy. “
W. H. Auden – For the Time Being – A Christmas Oratorio
We are also coming to the death of one year and the birth of another. For sure some dramatic changes are to be rung in the months ahead – personally, nationally and perhaps universally. As always, let us hope for better times – some prayers would not go amiss either.
I want to thank everyone for their support of this blog’s manifestation since the summer, and also especially of late with the sudden death of Martin, my husband, in October. These last 2 months have been so empty and the outlet of blogging has been a consolation, as have all the words of comfort I’ve received.
So Happy Christmas everyone and see you back here in 2019
Beliefs – article on Auden’s poem – For the Time Being – A Christmas oratoria