'Twas Christmas eve in the workhouse
And all was quiet and still...'
So I took myself off out for a break. I need to see the daylight every so often and I trotted out to smirk at those late Christmas shoppers as they despaired of buying the right thing. Naturally as the day was bright and the sun had been around all day the minute I went through the door it rained! It indeed poured down for just as long as it took me to wander about. As I squelched my way home the cloud, a thick black brute covering the entire planet, decided to end and began to make its way eastwards to give Colchester a good clean. You get some impression of the thing as it departed over the Fish & Chip shop. A dark brooding cloud heading east leaving behind a warm sun beginning to reflect off the houses. Bah Humbug!! My shoes might be dry by Hogmany!
Not long after the rain the sky was like this! Tsk!
Christmas Eve and throughout the land kids are alert for a big fat man in a red outfit clambering down their chimney, leaving his reindeer on the rootop, or maybe they are rummaging about the house attempting to find the things the folks have hidden away. (Did you know Santa was originally dressed in Green?) Young children's faces are a wonder to behold at this time, but not so wonderful as mum and dad when the kids wake at three in the morning to search for parcels! Evening descends and the frantic scramble ebbs away, panic rises in hearts that some major item has been forgotten, even if its importance is widely exaggerated. A great many items considered important for tomorrow will actually be not that important after all. Relax and enjoy, worse things happen at sea.
What's the point of it all? Family gatherings maybe? Good indeed, if you have a happy family. Giving and receiving gifts? Also a good thing, but possible all year of course. A celebration that winter will end as we now head into the new year, well next week we do, and look forward to Spring returning (hooray!). Yes indeed, and for thousands of years that has been the real reason for the feasting and revelry. At some time in the past the church, most likely the ecclesiastical organisation based in Rome, took the great Bacchanalian debauchery and clothed it as a 'Christian' festival. Quite right too I say! They however made a mistake here in referring to this as Jesus' entry into the world, that probably happened about May or June or thereabouts in 5 BC, and we should be celebrating his birth around those months I say. For one thing it will be warmer and for another the shops will be less busy.
As always the Scots almost have it right. New Year is the time for the jollity and not Christmas, the Christ Mass as it were. Calvinism ensured Scotland regarded their religion properly, except when they didn't of course. Christmas was a normal day until the late 50's in Scotland. My dad went to work at Christmas until at least 1960, although how much actual work was done by then I would not like to say. I suspect an early finish and a trip to the 'Anchor Inn' was on the horizon for many. Ah well, in the bleak midwinter we require the hope of sunshine to come, unless you live in the southern hemisphere obviously! At this time of year those peoples look forward to er, more sunshine, bah! I hope we all enjoy the day, and of course start jogging soon afterwards.