Saturday, 24 December 2011

After the Yule is Over

At around the same time I was commenting on Tim Minchin, the Thirsty Gargoyle had a few words to say on the matter. The Gargoyle's post mostly focusses on the way Minchin complains about being dropped from the Ross show, and effectively takes a pragmatic capitalist view to it - ITV being a commercial channel the last thing they want to do is offend all those well-educated, affluent, middle-class Christian consumers. Tim Minchin is wingin', in effect. I personally feel that the problem with the song is that, possibly as a result of being written to order, it was a bit stretched. The Woody Allen idea was quite sweet, the idea that Tim Minchin himself was Jesus (beard and long hair, you see) was mildly funny, if kind-of-heretical - after all, the point of the Incarnation is that Jesus took on the nature of all of us, not just of Tim Minchin.  While the other stuff was pointless trying-to-be-funny/shocking.

But I would also recommend you to read Thrsty Gargoyle's response to a troll who tries to claim in the comments that Christians stole Christmas by simply renaming it. It is one of the most witty responses to a troll I have read in a long time, and a neat but of debunking.

It's pretty clear that Christmas wasn't "stolen", "renamed" or "co-opted" from anything. Pretty well any time of the year that Christmas was going to be celebrated, it would coincide with some non-Christian festival or another. After all, religions have festivals all the time and there are lots of festivals.


As I have noted in this journal before, there is one culture that does seem to have celebrated the Winter Solstice, and these were the culture that built one of the phases of Stonehenge - orienting that venerable temple onto the axis of the summer sunrise and the winter sunset. They have left no writing, and we do not have their language or the name they called themselves. So we call them Beaker Folk after their pottery. And we of the Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley, not having the original word for the winter solstice, have chosen to use the word "Yule", because we may as well. Can we not imagine - as Stukeley might if he had not erroneously thought Stonehenge to be Celtic - can we not imagine that when the last light of the winter sun had sunk behind the Wessex horizon, sinking away to where the ancestors lived out their shrivelled, attenuated half-life existences (Somerset), that the ancient Beaker People may well have celebrated the promises of longer days ahead by lighting tea lights and drinking a mixed drink with a strong hint of vanilla?

Well, that's what we plan to do. Freed from the constraints under which other Christians (or at least the ones with liturgical responsibilities) have to keep themselves sober for Midnight Mass, and then risk sleep deprivation by getting up for the Mass of the Dawn, we can kick off our Crocs and Uggs, relax, and drink deeply of Hnaef's traditional Beaker Punch. A happy Christmas to all our pilgrims from around the world, and may all your hi-vizes be white.


  1. I feel sorry for anyone who messes with the Gargoyle. You just don't stand a chance....

  2. I agree with TTG the song was not a great example of a "Minchin" rant, but WRT it being censored there are quite a few of us out here that are not offended by such material, possibly even a majority, who knows? Anyway, I personally think it's good to laugh now and again, even at our beliefs (or lack thereof) and even at plainly silly songs.

    Merry Christmas AE, may your beakers overflow :)

  3. Agus Nollaig fé shéin dhuit, a Eibhlín dílis!


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