Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Once Again, as in Olden Days

December 22nd, 2015 by G.

Each holiday has its own character and its own image.  Our American 4th of July is about sun, noise, grilling, healthy flesh.  The image of Thanksgiving is a good appetite and the stuffed extended family lolling about afterwards, desultorily playing at games.  Christmas is unusual–it has two main images

The first theme is the happy, domestic one.  It’s the family gathered around the  tree.  Lights are dim.  There’s probably a fire and a fireplace.  People are happy and smiling.

The other image is the spiritual feeling of the clear, cold night sky with the remote and beautiful stars.  Christmas spirituality is the spirituality of looking up at the night sky when everything is still.

Our normal image of the birth of Jesus combines the two.  We see the cozy stable, warmly and dimly lit by a lamp, with the small family gathered in around, and the animals gathered in, and the shepherds and such.  Then around them the night and the stars, especially the one bright star.


Easter is a morning holiday.  Christmas is perhaps more about Christmas Eve than Christmas morning. Certainly there are more rituals associated with Christmas Eve then there are our Christmas morning. Christmas Eve is when the candles are lit, when the children act out the nativity, when we dig dirt to fill our paper bags for luminarias, when we set up the stockings and put out milk for Santa.

The other night holiday is spooky.  Christmas Eve isn’t.   But the night, the clear, cold night, still takes the holiday out of the ordinary.

Sunrise and sunset are great for casual glancing enjoyment in passing. But if you really look at them they seem to demand something more. You see that there is a glory about them that approaches the transcendent.  You want to have an appreciation that is worthy of the site. You want to commune. And you can’t.  If you try–when I try–frustration results.

For many people, Christmas is a pretty frustrating holiday.  I love Christmas, personally, but I understand the frustration.  Christmas isn’t only a time to have a shindy.  There is a spiritual element there, a grandeur, and it demands that you reach out for it, and your reaching always never quite succeeds.  You never fully commune.

Today I told my family that I had had a dream.  When they were grown, I said, and I and their mother were gone, I dreamed that on Christmas Eve when all was quiet and still, when the only light was from the tree and the dying fire, I would be permitted to return.  I would be permitted to sit by the tree and remember when they were young.  Perhaps, I told them, if they briefly awoke they might hear the sound of rocking, and know that the old ties were still there.

The truth is that I already spend part of Christmas Eve night that way.  After the children are all gone to bed and I’ve finished wrapping and bustling, I usually sit by the dying fire for awhile.  I contemplate the lights, and think of Christmases that have gone, and the Christmases to come when my children will be grown.  My wife says I puzzle her.  For someone who loves Christmas so much, she says, I can get remarkably melancholic about it.

Remembering old days, my childhood days and my children’s, that will not come again, is part of the melancholy.  Another part is my inability to fully penetrate into the heart of Christmas.  I have never fully gone inside.

But I keep trying.  Because there is a voice that whispers.  It promises that someday I will be at the very manger, and all the old Christmases will be one.



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December 22nd, 2015 07:37:58

Too Many Christmas Goodies

December 22nd, 2015 by G.

Wise men


For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”


Enjoy these goodies. (more…)

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December 22nd, 2015 07:36:29

Angina Monologue 26

December 18th, 2015 by Vader

G. tells us his muse is a goober. Mine is a crusty old retired Sith Lord.


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December 18th, 2015 22:45:52

The Last Christmas

January 06th, 2015 by G.


Someone someday will celebrate the last Christmas. (more…)

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January 06th, 2015 19:06:03

Longing for the Sacrament

January 06th, 2015 by G.

keep calm and focus on the sacrament              Mary comes in to the living room on a bouncy hop ball with a fringed linen napkin around her head. Joseph walks beside her in a bathrobe. ‘He’ is sulking because Joseph is a girl, and wanted to be Mary instead of “his” sister. The nativity unfolds. The new baby in the family is taken out of the cradle, because she is fussing, and a doll is substituted in. One of the angels forgets her lines. When the wise men bring their “gifts” (best not to look to closely at them), a two-year old shepherd gets excited and starts squealing that Santa will bring presents for everyone tonight. (more…)

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January 06th, 2015 13:15:46

The Final Purpose of the Nativity

January 06th, 2015 by G.

“I don’t know. No reason.”   You have just been asked why you wore that shirt today. You don’t recall.   Impulse maybe. It doesn’t matter and it’s not worth talking about.

But if your choice did matter, there should be a reason. When you knock at the gates of heaven (who has ears to hear, let him hear), when you are asked “why have you come?” you should have something better to say than “I don’t know. No reason.” (more…)

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January 06th, 2015 11:31:05

Behold the Concubine of the Lord

December 23rd, 2014 by G.

Nothing made the Southern defenders of the peculiar institution more hot than the accusation that Southern men dallied with their slave women. An oblique reference to it by Senator Sumner was what got Congressman Brooks to near cane him to death. (more…)

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December 23rd, 2014 10:55:48

Nativity Conversations

December 22nd, 2014 by G.

My younger kids made a nativity set for me.

Joseph the Hut

It goes without saying that there’s Joseph on the left, Mary on the right, the swaddled Infant Jesus in the center, and a lamb poking its head in at the bottom. Not pictured: a second Infant Jesus they made for the set, for reasons best known to themselves. (more…)

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December 22nd, 2014 10:43:37

As Terrible as an Army with Banners

December 22nd, 2014 by G.

On the sweetness of Mormon life (more…)

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December 22nd, 2014 09:30:09


December 21st, 2014 by Vader

Our ward had its Christmas program today in Sacrament Meeting.


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December 21st, 2014 23:50:27

Go and Share Creation’s Story

December 15th, 2014 by G.

Central to that story is the creation of a little baby in a manger.

A really fun Christmas production, despite the Youtube’s Greatest Hits flavor.

Hat tip to Phil W. at Brandywinebooks.net

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December 15th, 2014 09:35:23

Brother and Sister Scrooge.

December 05th, 2014 by Bookslinger

Not totally. They cancelled Christmas for the kids, and are turning Christmas into a service project.

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December 05th, 2014 16:36:02

American Atheists campaign

December 01st, 2014 by Vader

Bringing cheer to the Christmas season in the Bible Belt.

Apparently the little girl is too old for “fairy tales” about God … but not too old to be writing Santa to complain about it.

There’s a metaphor there. And not one, I think, that the American Atheists intended.

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December 01st, 2014 22:34:15

Silent Night 1914

December 24th, 2013 by G.

Our ward Primary President introduced the singing of “Silent Night” this way: (more…)

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December 24th, 2013 09:37:02

The Christmas jammies video

December 22nd, 2013 by Bookslinger

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December 22nd, 2013 19:43:22