Saturday, 26 November 2005


It's late November and already I am fed up with Christmas!
The shops are full of Xmas gifts and adverts on TV and Radio gushingly exhort us to spend our cash on stuff that will be forgotten by January the first. Countless others tell us where to get the finance to pay for it, or to clear up the debts left by last years overspending.
All around folks are putting decorations on their houses. Some spending several thousand pounds to place plastic santas and reindeer, with snowmen and other creatures lit up and moving all around. All this to raise money for charity. Nothing to do with attention seeking eh?
Giving the cost of the lights and the electric to run them would raise more.

Christmas is still several weeks away! Yet we have an abundance of emptiness screaming at us from all around! Buy this and that and happiness will flow through your Xmas time. No it won't! On the contrary Christmas is a time of loneliness for many, and arguments and domestic disputes for far too many others.

Television will soon be full of blonde, brainless, grossly overpaid women, dancing overexitedly onto our screens telling us what a wonderful time we are having. These creatures will gush and yell 'wonderfull time' 'amazing' 'fantastic' and many other empty meaningless words while 'pap' of the worst possible type fills the screen.

Must it be like this?
Christmas is a time when families can get together and have a good time. People need a midwinter break and the hope that soon the nights will get shorter and warm days will return.
But do we need the commercial hype, followed soon after with the emptiness off the morning after? No. Certainly not.

Christians realise that Christmas is a time when the entrance of Jesus into this world is remembered. They know that the actual date of his arrival is not known. But having met him for themselves they know he came, taught his disciples, carried our sin nature to the cross, and by dying left it there. His rising from the dead and sending of the Holy Spirit gives life to those who accept it. They also remember that soon he will return.

The death for us puts this sham Christmas in it's place.
Time I think to drop it and replace it with 'the real thing.'

Sunday, 13 November 2005


Funny how we treat remembrance.
It has become popular once again to stand for two minutes on November the 11th at precisely eleven o' clock and consider those who fell in two world wars. A long ignored habit has returned to the nation. I wonder why? And for how long?
Yet while we watch the service at the cenotaph and note the number of ex servicemen marching past, I find myself asking, 'What about tomorrow?' Will we remember them then?

If you have a man next door who on occasion screams loudly during the night, appears depressed at times and possibly suicidal and unapproachable, and acts in a strange manner, do we care why? Or is he just a menace to us all?
Many men who served in the major wars, as well in the countless small conflicts that this country has participated in since 1945, have very good reason to act this way.
The sight of dead friends, guilt over their own merciless actions, horrors they would never want their children to know about, these things remain deep in their mind and return again and again to them, often in their dreams.
But do we care?

We remember the dead.
We wear the poppy, often with pride, we acknowledge survivors and read their memoirs, sharing, from a safe distance, their tale. We see ourselves as one with them.

But then forget them.

Who cares for those disabled in body or mind by war? The government? Hardly. After 1945 those demobbed were just told to go home and get on with their lives. Is it any different today?
It seems to me that there is far to little done for those who endured and suffer serving the nation. The nation does not grant decent 'post traumatic stress' counseling in my view. The public just don't want to know if the man next to them drinks too much and cannot control his aggression. 'Lock him up, he's a danger!' is the best they can do.

However, on this date, at the cenotaph, and countless memorials throughout the land such men are honoured.

Then forgotten.