I had planned to resume regular blogging today, but I need another day or two to focus my thoughts. I'll resume blogging again by January 1 at the very latest.
I am taking a short respite from blogging to celebrate Christmas and meditate on the significance and meaning of this most important of days. I am also planning to spend some much needed time with my family. I will return to daily blogging on the 29th or the 30th.
Until then, I wish everyone a Happy Christmas.
It was the darkest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere today. The winter solstice. A day marked by the domination of darkness over light. As I thought about it this morning, it occurred to me that we are living in the age of the winter solstice – an age in which darkness dominates light; encroaches upon; seeks to eradicate it. Those who seek light must inevitably work through the darkness to reach it. It has always been that way, but perhaps it is more that way now than it has been in the past.
That Christmas and the winter solstice coincide over a short span of days is common knowledge, but few recognize the mystery contained in the obvious. I don’t have the key to the mystery myself, but I can sense the significance in the light being born during the darkest of days when gloom and bleakness oppresses everything, including hope. On the one hand, the winter solstice signifies peak darkness. On the other hand, it marks the point after which dark tide ebbs and the light once again begins to flow.
And we are all working through the darkness in some way or other. Some appear perfectly content to remain in the murky gloom; to turn their backs on the light and burrow deeper into the shadows, ever farther from the light. Others are led astray by fireworks and false beacons. The fireworks dazzle and mesmerize, but essentially keep people rooted in the dark through illusion. Darkness descends quickly and firmly and remains once the brilliant displays end. The false beacons offer faux salvation but essentially lure onto rocky shores – the shipwrecks of souls.
And yet there are some who recognize the light and are drawn to it. Some are very close to the light; others, like me, are still mired in darkness. We battle through the somber blackness, determined to close the distance between ourselves and the promise the light offers. The winter solstice bespeaks promise and hope. This inspires faith. This faith fortifies us as we continue to work through the darkness. Yes, the light may appear brief and distant, but it is there. The light is always there; and one day we will be there with it, always.
When it comes to Christmas carols and songs, I have no clear favorite, but I have always cherished "Good Bless You Merry, Gentlemen" particularly for its first stanza which, in my opinion, sums up the whole point of celebrating Christmas quite profoundly and succinctly.
God rest you merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
For Jesus Christ, our Saviour
Was born upon this day,
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.
I finally managed to find one of the songs my son found so moving during the choral performance we attended in our village church last weekend. This is beautiful chant, in my opinion. Hope you enjoy it.
Two months ago, I was inspired to revisit my novel and complete some long overdue revisions to the narrative. I have been working on those revisions ever since, and I am pleased to say that I am very near the end of the process. Yes, that's right, I have the fork out, and I'm almost ready to stick it in this project. I should have everything done a couple of days before Christmas, but I probably won't republish the book until the second week of January.
Though I have complained about the revisions, they have actually been great fun to complete. I feel the story is now much tighter and much closer to my original vision for the book. I will be curious to see how others feel. Whatever the case, this revised version will be the final version. Full stop. For better or for worse, I have no plans to ever revisit the novel again. Life's too short, and I have other stories I would still like to tell.
Kitschy, but cute. Come on, they're Christmas cards - what did you expect?
Attractive, hypersexualized women who succeed in drawing a great deal of attention to themselves aside, bombshells tend to refer to unexpected or surprising events or circumstances that reveal something amazing, shocking, or devastating. The word is often used to describe revelations or leaks that counter the official narratives we are fed through the mainstream media.
Perhaps the most recent example of a bombshell is the leaked discovery that the OPCW report of the chemical attack in Douma, Syria in 2018 – which the Establishment in the West publicized and used as a pretext for military strikes against Syria – was a redacted report; one that omitted, manipulated, and misrepresented many key facts concerning the alleged incident.
‘Bombshells’ like the one described above used to shock me back when I still possessed enough generosity to grant the Western Establishment and its System the benefit of the doubt regarding their narratives. But over the years I have come to see the Establishment and its System as inherently evil rather than merely corrupted. This has forced me adjust my views accordingly.
Whatever generosity I once possessed has long since dissipated. I no longer grant the benefit of the doubt to any power in the West regarding their official narratives. Nor do I harbor ‘innocent unless proven guilty’ sentiments about anything pertaining to the System. On the contrary, I hold the opposite view when it comes to the Establishment in the West – in my mind they are guilty unless proven innocent.
Understandably, this shift in perspective has dulled the effects of even the most unsettling leaks and bombshells. After all, there is nothing inherently surprising or shocking about evil engaging in evil; just as there is nothing disturbing about discovering that liars lie, thieves steal, killer kill, and manipulators manipulate. In fact, from a guilty unless proven innocent perspective, these realities are understood and expected.
Of course, some see this as a sign of closed mindedness, but nothing could be further from the truth. Just because the Establishment no longer bitterly disappoints me does not mean I have slammed the door on the possibility of being pleasantly surprised.
But in all fairness, when was the last time you witnessed evil doing anything that could be considered remotely pleasant?
Guilty unless proven innocent is the only way forward in my mind – anything else leaves you exposed and vulnerable to manipulation and, ultimately, damnation.
A choir from a neighboring town gave a delightful one hour concert at my village church this afternoon. The choir performed a selection of mostly Hungarian Christmas hymns from throughout the centuries, but also included a few pieces in Latin, and one in English.
About halfway through the concert, I noticed that my son - who turned eight just last week - had tears in his eyes. At first I thought something was wrong, but I quickly realized he had simply been moved by the music.
After the concert, we went out to the small square beside the church where the village was having an outdoor Advent celebration. My wife and I sipped mulled wine and spoke to neighbors and friends. I bought my little guy some kürtőskalacs and asked him what had brought the tears to his eyes during the choir's performance. His response - "It was all just too beautiful."
Unfortunately, I couldn't find any of the specific hymns the choir sang at the church this evening, but there is one Hungarian Christmas song that moved me to tears the first time I heard it as a child. The song is called "Mennyből az angyal" (Angel from Heaven), and it still tugs at my soul every time I hear it, especially when it is sung in unison within a church as it is in the clip below.
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Bruce Charlton's Notions
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