Tag Archives: Christmas

Beware the “Jealous State”

Have Yourself a Very Subversive Christmas

by Mike Pakaluk

“But it might do us good to amplify the crèche scene, to include the whole Christmas reality – not (foolishly) buff naked men with washboard abs – but, in the background and among the shadows, a tall, wraith-like, and sinister figure, brandishing a sword. More than the greed of a Scrooge threatens the spirit of Christmas. He stands for the jealous State, and he threatens anyone who would dare honor this newborn child as ‘my liege and sovereign Lord.’”

Have a Merry and Blessed Christmas!


A Christmas “Fairytale”

It’s Christmas Eve so I am going off topic a bit. You have probably heard the song before and even seen the video. But if you read Michael Brendan Dougherty’s heartfelt tribute to the Pogues’ classic you will never think about the song in the same way again. A very fitting message as we begin the “Year of Mercy.” Merry Christmas!

‘Fairytale of New York’: How a soused Irish punk band created the greatest Christmas song of all time




The Real “War on Christmas”

I am somehow both astonished and not at all surprised at the so-called “War on Christmas” that has again surfaced in the public consciousness. This time around the epicenter of the quake is a red paper coffee cup. In years past I recall that the storm was all about whether or not it was appropriate for people working in stores to wish their customers “Merry Christmas”.

There is a Real War on Christmas that’s been going on for a long time. It’s obvious and it’s subtle. It’s taking place thousands of miles from here and it’s taking place a very short walk from wherever you are. It’s all around us and it’s within us.

We declare War on Christmas when accept that buying things in stores is what the season is all about. When we accept that “that’s just the world we live in” and conform to the social expectation that says “shop ‘til you drop” we declare War on Christmas. When we wait in line for the hour the door opens to storm into some big box store for Black Friday “deals” we declare War on Christmas. The ensuing mad rush to get something off the shelf before someone else can is the modern blitzkrieg in the War on Christmas.

We engage in War on Christmas when we hold onto our resentments and refuse to forgive on the grounds that those who have wronged us don’t deserve it. We stay at War with Christmas when we keep our hearts hardened and cling to our belief that we are “right” and anyone who doesn’t see it our way can take a long walk off a short pier. When we don’t consider the equal dignity of all who are not practicing Christians we also guilty of waging War on Christmas. We perpetuate this war by the arrogant assumption that ours is a “Christian Nation” and if someone doesn’t have a membership card to the “club” they’ll just have to scrape by as best they can. Or they are told to “go back to wherever they came from if they don’t like it here”. Allegiance to the “us vs. them” propaganda is jet fuel on the fire in the War on Christmas.

We put an end to the war on Christmas when we slow down enough to smile and say a kind word to people we don’t know as well as to those we love most dearly. We put an end to the War on Christmas when we remember that every human being everywhere is our brother and sister. We end this war when we live up to our birthright as creatures made out of love, made for love, and designed to love each other and ourselves. We end the war when we no longer allow ourselves to be blinded by our hatred and fear. We end it when we connect to the truth that every one of us is part of and belongs to all of creation. Peace is ours when we realize that we are all part of the same crazy, wonderful, and mysterious family.

So drink your coffee from any cup of any color that makes your heart sing. Wish anyone you like a “Merry Christmas”. Or smile and wish them “Happy holidays”. Or if you want to be particularly subversive you can wish people “Happy Holy Days”. Or just smile and wish them a “Good day!”. But don’t mistake Christmas for something that comes from a coffee shop or a retail store.

Girl Recites Angelou’s “Amazing Peace”

What a wonderful way to begin Christmas dinner! A young girl in a family in Grand Rapids, Michigan does a wonderful job reading aloud “Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem” by Maya Angelou.

Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Flood waters await us in our avenues.

Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche
Over unprotected villages.
The sky slips low and grey and threatening.

We question ourselves.
What have we done to so affront nature?
We worry God.
Are you there? Are you there really?
Does the covenant you made with us still hold?

Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,
Come the way of friendship.

It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground.

Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,
Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now. It is louder.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.

We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war. But, true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.
We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.
Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
Implore you, to stay a while with us.
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.

It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.

On this platform of peace, we can create a language
To translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.

At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ
Into the great religions of the world.
We jubilate the precious advent of trust.
We shout with glorious tongues at the coming of hope.
All the earth’s tribes loosen their voices
To celebrate the promise of Peace.

We, Angels and Mortal’s, Believers and Non-Believers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation.

Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.

– Maya Angelou