It’s a tradition… Meat pies and Ginger Biskwits for Crimble!! They don’t stay around for long.
Happy Christmas. Pass the Port!
It’s almost Christmas and even the sternest of critics is likely to hum at least a bar of something related to Christmas over the coming few weeks.
Many will have heard the Christmas story again (you can find it in Luke 2:1-20). Surprisingly the written part of this story is relatively short. The details in the Biblical account have been somewhat embellished overtime by high and pop culture retellings.
For me it helps to ‘realise’ the story to know that the flowery bits are there due to colourful imagination and that in essence it was possibly a simple real ‘down-to-earth’ event.
Many take for granted that Jesus was born in a stable, it’s hard to un-imagine the imagery; however, the Gospel never mentions exactly where the baby was born – just where he was laid afterward. It’s just one of the embellishments built into mythology surrounding the Christmas story that we take for granted.
Did Mary ride a donkey to Bethlehem? Perhaps, but there are various other possibilities. The Bible doesn’t say how she got to Bethlehem. It only says that she came with Joseph.
Did Mary arrive in Bethlehem the night she gave birth? The Bible does not suggest this. They could have arrived weeks earlier. The Bible simply states, “while they were there [in Bethlehem], the days were accomplished that she should be delivered” (Luke 2:6). Arriving in town well before her due date would make more sense.
Thanks to Huw Spanner for these thoughts:
There were no inns or stables in first-century Bethlehem! The Gospels imply that he was born in a house full of family. Ordinary houses then consisted of a lower ground floor where the family’s animals spent the night and an upper ground floor (ie a stone platform) where the family lived and slept. The manger would simply have been an alcove in the side of the platform. More affluent families would have had a first floor – an upper room (as in the Last Supper) for relatives and other guests to stay in.
Early translators didn’t really know what the Greek word meant, so (IIRC) they guessed it meant “inn”. There is no mention of a stable in any of the Gospels in any translation. But first-century Bethlehem was much too small a town to have an inn, let alone a stable. Besides, the reason Joseph was in Bethlehem in the first place was because he had to go back to his home town for the Roman census. Therefore, he would have had family in Bethlehem, and all his relatives would have come down for the census. No one would have stayed in an inn (even if there had been one) if one of their extended family had a house locally – if for no other reason than that it would have been very insulting to their extended family. Joseph and Mary had been engaged when she became pregnant, and they were certainly married by the time she gave birth.
Thus, the situation the Gospels imply is that Joseph’s family home was full of visiting relatives – the upper room was full – so the baby was put in the manger. The house would have been warm, the manger would have had hay in it and Jesus would have been surrounded by his extended family. A very different picture from the one that Christmas carols and cards, and authors of blessed thoughts and Nativity plays, like to paint.
… in essence it was possibly a simple real ‘down-to-earth’ event.
An unfocused time of year…
With plenty of expectation of… “we’re not sure what”, thoughts at this time of year can become a tad fraught.
I can’t focus my thought right now, ‘cos I’m thinking loads about something and something about loads and it’s all getting a tad pre-Christmasy and end-of-the-yeary…
Cards to write and send, insurance to sort, nativities to see, guests to please, friends to see, presents to arrange, wife to please, kids to educate, what did i promise?, animals to feed, bike to mend, money to save, try not to forget, try to remember, try to try, next year to put off…
Mindfulness gong! …and relax… !
I noticed the other day that social media posts about stuff, issues, opinions and the like, get “occasional comment”, but images of silly jingle-bell hats and reindeer costumes get bounteous “licks”. Curious…
Perhaps instead of banging on about how this is this, and that’s that and OML whatever next, we should all just get festive and unfocus… ?
…or should we re-focus?
Further to the post last month: …Good Old Sing
Some great audio recordings with videos have been posted to YouTube of a few of the other songs in the concert. Well done all!
And a big thank you to Keith Tonks and Steve Johnson for compiling them!
Global Harmony is a mixed a cappella world music choir based in Melton Mowbray, UK.
If you fancy it go and join them!
Just had to share this: Tim Minchin’s stuff is quite brilliant and this one’s another corker
Here’s the recipe for Great Nana Daisy’s
from Porthleven Cornwall.
1 pound plain Flour
half a pound Marg
half a pound Sugar
1 desert spoon Baking Powder
1 desert spoon Bi-carb
Half ounce Cinnamon
2 teaspoons Ginger
A pinch salt
7oz warmed syrup
– Mix dry ingredients.
– Rub in marg.
– Add warmed syrup
Form into walnut sized balls and dab top into sugar.
Bake in a hot oven 10-14mins.
(There's a new 2020 post click here with a free to download do-it-yourself template!)
2011 – I’ve produced some artwork recently for a project portraying people from a local village in Leicestershire and relating them to characters in ‘The Christmas Story’.
The local church identified 9 nativity characters and 9 corresponding pictures of people from contemporary village life. An interesting piece of creativity!
It’s to be on display in a shop window in Sibson Road in Birstall, for shoppers and passers by. Ordinary people, ordinary place, extraordinary story.
It caused me to ponder various things… the obvious: ‘what if a God was one of us?’
The seasonal: Immanuel, ‘God is with us’?
“The Christmas Story” a curious story that I’m told differs in each gospel account and has had heaps tagged onto it over the years… to the point that I wonder if elves and reindeer were present in the stable? Oh and coke cola and red stuff.
God became man… ? We can wonder at the significance of the prophesied birth. Light and angelic hope…
The project above asks, if it happened today, “where would you (and I) be in it”?
Hummm… I can’t imagine…
I’d like to think that I could sense the majesty and grace of such a prospective happening, but can’t see myself as the chosen host, the visitors, the authorities or the worshippers… but I guess I am still one of the ‘us’.
Immanuel, ‘God is with us’?
Check it out anyway, it’s produced by the Methodist Church in Birstall all credit to Rachel Parkinson and her team. It’s on Sibson Road Birstall – from next week.
Ordinary people, ordinary place, extraordinary story.
That time of year again… when things hint at becoming sparkly, spiced and warming… (that’s if you can find your waythrough the froth, the jingle-jingle and the plastic saturnalia).
If you’ve not heard Global Harmony before check out; a bit of audio. You get a taste from the above, but there’s nowt quite like the real thing – if something a little different is your cuppa tea that is (with a hint of rooibos perhaps)! I’m digressing and waffling again… or am I waffgressing… ?
Anyway… Global Harmony .