It seems that so much of Christmas is no more than rampant consumerism, where this year’s gifts are expected to be bigger and better (and more expensive) than last year’s, and the year before that, and yet the year before that.
It wasn’t always so, but even for the not religious that Christmas meant a time for reflection, a time where peace and goodwill should take precedence over all else.
Christmas has also been a thing of myths and legends. For those in northern climes, the home of the ancestors of many of us who now live in Australia, Christmas brought long cold nights, of using the last of the stored and preserved foods. But with every season of cold and darkness comes opportunities, the opportunity to light a pipe and for story telling.
Here is a short description, it’s a Nordic tale which I have taken from memory, it is of the Snow Queen’s Palace.The walls of the palace were of driven snow, and the windows and doors made of cutting, biting winds. This was a palace of a hundred halls, the largest was lighted by Aurora Borealis which shone with precision, but all of the halls were empty and icy cold; but how resplendent. But happiness never reigned there, but cold, and empty were the halls of the Snow Queen.
In the middle of the empty, endless hall of snow, was a frozen lake; it was cracked in a thousand pieces. It was an ice-puzzle for the understanding – when one looked at it, the figures were extraordinarily beautiful, and of the utmost importance. Two words formed within the pattern, one was legend the other eternity.
To kiss the Snow Queen was to turn one to ice, like the splinters of a looking-glass penetrating the heart and to become a part of the palace, nothing more than cold, empty splendor.
But as all good legends end so this one ends, the warm tear of the hero’s beloved falls into his eye to melt the frozen shard in his heart.
Each and every Christmas my mother (bless her heart, mum turns 89 in a couple of months) would take me to either a pantomime or to the ballet. I was born when my parents were somewhat older and had given up having a child, so although I wouldn’t say that I was ever spoilt I will admit that Christmas was a time for special treats such as going to the ballet. Here is the music from one of my favorites.
When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.: Bob Hope
And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.: Dr. Seuss