Meditation and Reflection

For unto us a child is born

Christmas has become an annual sabbath; almost the only time of the year now when families come together, friends are remembered, and the ghosts of Christmases past are recalled, some with joy, some with sorrow, and some with complete indifference. It is the one time of the year when the church pews are full and thoughts of God enter into many homes. Christmas infuses hope into lives of despair, and light into a world of darkness.

But it doesn’t end conflict or cease turmoil.

Politicians win elections by promising heaven on earth – that they will bring change, feed the starving, house the homeless, dispel the fear, and restore hope. When, a decade later, the people realise they are still in purgatory, another swathe of disaffected voters scorns the democratic process and declares a plague on all their houses. The government of man is in crisis, and the heart of man is bereft.

For unto us a child is born..

And this child, this Jesus, this god-man mystery – some day, the government shall be upon His shoulder.

The deliverer is human: one of us; flesh of our flesh. He is born to rule, born to be King, conceived of the house and lineage of David. His name is Wonderful – a mystery of divinity in humanity; Counsellor – the oracle of wisdom; the mighty God – the Word was not just with God, but was God; the Everlasting Father – not the same person as the Father, but of one substance with the Father; the Prince of Peace – bringing a peace that passes understanding.

For unto us a child is born.

Wishing all readers, communicants and intermittent guests of this blessed blog, a joyful, peaceful and blessed Christmas.

  • michaelkx

    “communicants and intermittent guests of this blessed blog, a joyful, peaceful and blessed Christmas.” my I add my amen to your wishes, and pray that you too have a blessed Christmas, and new year.

  • Anton

    May many vicars realise that this is their annual chance to preach to the unconverted, and take it!

    • David

      Yes and yes again !

  • chefofsinners

    As Mrs Proudie says, those round-robin letters describing the year are simply dreadful. he only thing worse is when people try to make them rhyme. So here goes… The year on Cranmer:

    ‘Twas the night before Brexit, when all through the blog
    Not a creature was stirring, not even bluedog;
    The stockings were well hung (Linus was ecstatic)
    In hopes that Old Nick would bring on the magic;

    The Inspector was nestled all smug in his bias,
    While visions of Sarky danced all impious;
    And Mrs Proudie in her ‘kerchief, and the bishop in his cap,
    Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,

    When out on the web there arose such a twitter,
    We sprang to the blog to see what was the matter.
    Away to the Windows we flew like a flash,
    Sensing the time had come: the backlash.

    The spin from politicians on the new-fallen shite

    Gave us hearts full of joy as we watched through the night,

    Then, what to our wondering eyes should appear,

    But a vote for Brexit, the highlight of the year,



    With a little old driver, so quick to oblige,

    We knew in a moment it must be St. Nige.

    More rapid than eagles his victory came,

    And he whistled, and shouted, and called it by name;



    “Now, Tusker! now, Juncker! now, Schultz has the squits,an’
    Angela Merkel cries: “Donder and Blitzen!”

    You’re knocked off your perch! The EU must fall!

    Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”



    St. Nigel spoke thus to the EU bureaucracy:
    “You reckoned without our British democracy”
    And with a small smile he refused to kowtow
    But told them all plainly: “You’re not laughing now”

    And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the stump

    The prancing and pawing of Donald the Trump.

    As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,

    Down the chimney St. Hilary fell with a bound.



    She was dressed all in Prada, from her head to her foot,

    But her past was all tarnished with ashes and soot;

    A bundle of emails were left on her server,

    What had the Americans done to deserve her?



    Her eyes — how they twinkled! Her husband how merry!

    Her cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

    But their smug little smiles and progressive morality
    Were rubbed in the dirt by American reality…

    TV star, the Donald, a right jolly old elf,
    And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

    A flick of his toupe on his fat orange head,

    And Mike Pence showed that I had nothing to dread;



    The house of David rejoiced, Carl was relieved,
    Linus went quiet and Happy Jack was peeved,
    dannybhoy chortled, CliveM played it cool,
    but Pubcrawler nearly fell off of his stool

    Busy mum stopped her ironing, Anton did the math,
    Explorer went boldly down a new path
    To his great surprise, Dreadnaught was in heaven
    With Avi and Marie 1797!

    Our thanks to Bish Cranmer for your words so wise,
    Farewell to Old Blowers ‘till we meet in the skies.
    What a year for us Christians, for all on the right!
    HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Very good chef. I suggest you give up the cooking job and become UKIPs answer to Pam Ayres. Peace and blessings to all on this blog.

      • chefofsinners

        Apologies for missing you out. Have edited.

    • David

      Very good indeed !
      Thanks for that final flourish.
      I could have done with those lines, to read out to my tired colleagues, standing amongst the assembled throng at the local counting room, when at 3am, the night after the referendum, the tide turned our way. The light of liberty dawned again, and “Saint Nige” said his famous words.
      In true Brit. fashion I struggled to control my tears of joy…and somehow after long days of campaigning found the energy to get myself home.

    • carl jacobs

      What’s this about Blowers?

      • chefofsinners

        An assumption by many. Old age, no more posting…
        Is he with us yet?

        • carl jacobs

          Yes, OK. I have made the same assumption but just wondered if someone had heard definitively.

          • Pubcrawler

            Can I add Uncle Brian to the list of missing persons?

          • chefofsinners

            Last heard of in South America. The Lord Lucan of this blog.

          • Pubcrawler

            I hope he’s OK. I enjoyed his questions about the Greek text and assorted Latin translations, they made me read closely and think hard.

          • chefofsinners

            PI, my apologies, I missed you out! Will edit.

          • Anton

            Isn’t that’s the view of liberal Christians to the Second Coming?

          • Old Nick

            Better than thinking you know the day and the hour….

          • Anton

            I know the day of the year but not the year! The year too will be knowable from 7 years before.

          • God Bless Old Blowers. Jack does miss him.

            Here’s one of his quips:

            “Is there such a thing as a funny Calvinist or have I more chance of finding a Trinitarian Muslim?”

            Boom, boom …..

          • Anton

            Arminians think Calvinists are funny…

    • Old Nick

      Merry Christmas to you, O you Chieftain poetic
      I wish I could rhyme in your manner noetic…

  • Jon Sorensen

    “For unto us a child is born.”
    Isn’t this a legend build on top of the myth? Even early Christians were arguing if Jesus was actually born and 2nd century church father did not know Luke’s or Matthew’s nativity but told his own version. Early Christians would not celebrate birthdays but eventually Saturnalia and Solstice was adopted as Christian party. Maybe the birth was just adopted from other religions by fan fiction writers…

    • Inspector General

      A very believable story, so it is. As for no room in the inn, it was standing room only in the ‘Mouse and Wheel’ at 4pm yesterday. Some things never change..;

      • Anton

        There was actually no topos in the kataluma, according to the Greek account of St Luke (2:7). We need to be careful about the meaning of both words, as in English ‘room’ can mean either ‘space’ or a partitioned part of a building (eg the bathroom). Kataluma could equally well refer to guest quarters in Joseph’s relative’s house. And don’t get me started on how many wise men came…

        • David

          Exactly Anton. Yes Jesus was very likely born in a room used for guests rather than a commercial inn. According to Bailey’s ‘Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes’, given the generous nature of middle eastern hospitality and the sacred family’s familiarity with the area, it was far more likely that they, especially with a pregnant Mary, would be offered accommodation in a private house, in as you say, a guest room. The 21st C mind imagines them checking into a commercial premises, which is very unlikely.

      • Jon Sorensen

        A very believable like Lord Mithras’ birth story….

    • Maalaistollo

      And a Merry Christmas to you, too!

      • Jon Sorensen

        Hyvää talvilomaa ja parempaa uutta vuotta. Eiköhän se Suomen Turkukin jo julistanut jotain sellaista.

        • Anton

          Glad you’re not Finnished with us yet.

    • David

      So good to see that you are embracing the Christian spirit of goodwill and cheer to all, so Happy Christmas !

      • Jon Sorensen

        “Christian spirit of goodwill”
        Christians are trying to sell this idea with a book commanding violence and discrimination. No wonder people are not buying this myth an more either. BTW salvos came to my door. I asked about their good will towards LGBT. They didn’t want to talk….

        • Anton

          Where does the Bible command Christians to be violent?

          • Jon Sorensen

            I think you know. Google is your friend.

          • chefofsinners

            Found nothing. Be my friend. Where does the bible command Christians to be violent?

          • Jon Sorensen

            You might need to connect your computer to Internet before you use Google…

          • chefofsinners

            Would that also enable me to read your comments?

          • Martin

            CoS

            That’d be a major disadvantage.

          • chefofsinners

            Fortunately, the burden is shared between us.

          • Anton

            I think you don’t know!

        • dannybhoy

          ” I asked about their good will towards LGBT. They didn’t want to talk….”
          Probably couldn’t get a word in edgeways….

        • Martin

          Jon

          It’s good will from God toward those who do His will, not toward sinners who vaunt their perversion.

          • Jon Sorensen

            You are correct. There is no good will towards out-group people. We all know that.

          • Martin

            Jon

            How could God have good will toward those He will eternally punish?

          • Jon Sorensen

            Christians denominations only have good will toward their in-group, or to others if it has PR value to them. God has not good will.

          • Martin

            Jon

            Clearly you are wrong, I blame your religion.

          • Jon Sorensen

            It’s fine as long as you have someone other than yourself to blame.

          • Martin

            Jon

            As you do. Others admit their guilt.

    • Anton

      No early Christians argued whether Jesus was born, because they believed in him or they would not have been Christians. I think what you mean is that, a few generations after the event, they were arguing over what time of year it happened. That argument took place because by then the season had been forgotten and the gospel writers did not make it clear. This in turn shows that the timing is not regarded as important biblically. I must say I wish that more Christians would reset their priorities to the Bible. You are right about the date chosen to celebrate it, though.

      • Pubcrawler

        On the date, i came across this interesting piece recently:

        https://pursiful.com/2006/12/19/when-was-jesus-born-clement-of-alexandria/

        I have long thought that the Solstice/Saturnalia observation, like the Eostra business we’ll no doubt be reminded of in a few months, is something of a canard, appealing to those who think they’ve found a ‘gotcha’, but easily brushed aside as irrelevant by those who worship in spirit and truth.

        • Anton

          It’s a while since I read Clement’s actual passage (albeit in English translation), but my memory is that he discussed various views. That in itself shows we can’t know. My main point is that Christians should care about what time of year it happened about as much as Matthew and Luke do.

          • Pubcrawler

            Or perhaps even as much as Mark and John do.

          • Anton

            Quite!

          • Pubcrawler

            “the Magi visiting before Christ was born”

            6 Jan 2 BC is before 25 Dec 2 BC: only the years go backwards, not the months.

            “the drifting of the Julian calendar relative to the Gregorian”

            Negligible in the first couple of centuries, and irrelevant to Armenian Orthodox.

      • Jon Sorensen

        “No early Christians argued whether Jesus was born, because they believed in him or they would not have been Christians.”
        Not true. Educate yourself re early Christians and why do you think “born of a woman” was put to the scripture?

        “That argument took place because by then the season had been forgotten and the gospel writers did not make it clear.”
        You are just wrong about the time line.

        ” I must say I wish that more Christians would reset their priorities to the Bible.”
        I hope not. That would be bad for humanity and especially minorities

        • Anton

          References please!

          • Jon Sorensen

            Please do you homework before you make these claims.

          • Martin

            Jon

            So you can’t support your claim. I presume you’re thinking of the gnostics, who aren’t Christian.

          • Jon Sorensen

            So Jesus believing 1st century Gnostics are not Christians but Martin who belongs to later form Christian sect is and can judge this. LOL.

      • dannybhoy

        Some Jewish believers say it was more likely around Succoth because it would fit in with the idea that He ‘tabernacled’ amongst us. See here..
        https://jewishvoice.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/why-sukkot-is-yeshuas-real-birthday/
        Anyway 25th of December’s fine, so Happy Christmas everyone.

        • Anton

          There is no doubt that the harvest festival of Succoth/Tabernacles is when He will come again, as it is the one of the big three Jewish festivals yet to have fulfilment in Christ; see also Zechariah 14:6. I tend to believe that it was when He was born, too, so that faithful Jews might identify him (Simeon and Anna in Luke 2:25-38?) But I am not absolutely committed to this view.

          If the church had grasped that Jesus will some year return at Tabernacles then it would not have separated its festival of spiritual harvest, Advent, from physical harvest services (which in the northern hemisphere are close to Tabernacles); yet, interestingly, the church holds Advent near to its celebration of Jesus’ birth. If He was born at Tabernacles then the Incarnation would have been in winter, of course.

    • “Isn’t this a legend build on top of the myth?”
      No, this is prophecy being fulfilled – Isaiah 9:6 and 7:14.

      • Jon Sorensen

        People who wrote Isaiah don’t believe it points to Jesus, Mithras or Joe Smith. This is later mythical re-interpretation and nobody called Jesus “Immanuel”. (And yes I know what that means, but still you don’t call him Immanuel)

        • “People who wrote Isaiah…”

          I understand that the book of Isaiah was written by the prophet Isaiah.

          • Jon Sorensen

            And it has nothing to do with Jesus.

          • Any evidence?

            All the prophecies point to Jesus as the Messiah, so what is the basis for your claims? Or should we just take you at your word?

          • Jon Sorensen

            Take the word of the people who wrote it. They don’t see that anything they wrote points to Jesus. In fact they argued early on that Jesus is just a created myth.

    • Old Nick

      There is no connection I can see between the placing of Christmas on 25th December and the Saturnalia – which was the previous week. The Solstice is irrelevant. A distinguished Australian scholar explains the process of thought which placed Christmas on December 25th – nine months after the Annunciation, which also corresponded in many early Christian calculations to the first Easter: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christmas/

      • Anton

        As the guy says himself, it matches Sol Invictus even if it doesn’t match Saturnalia. The argument he suggests is that the Incarnation and the Crucifixion “should” (my inverted commas) be on the same day of the year. In that case why not go with my preference that His First Coming and His Second should be on the same day of the year? Certainly His second will be at Tabernacles. And as for His first coming, that might equally well mean the Incarnation or the Virgin Birth. Plenty of room for doubt here.

        • Old Nick

          The feast of the Sun was not a long-standing Roman observance. There is a very good chance that it was invented along with the Temple of the Sun on the Campus Martius by the Emperor Aurelian in the 270s – unfortunately the source for the latter is largely the notoriously unreliable Historia Augusta. It is first mentioned in the Codex-Calendar of 354. You might wish to consult
          S.E. Hijmans, “Temples and Priests of Sol in the City of Rome”. Mouseion 10/ 3, (2010, publi. 2013], 381-427.
          The Nativitas Domini is also mentioned in the Codex-Calendar of 354, but there is a strong chance that it is already referred to by Hippolytus of Rome much earlier in the 3rd century – so even before the first allusion to the feast of the Sun.
          You may or may not think that the chronographical calculations of early Christians are tosh. I would not use them as a method of calculating dates myself. But it is a fact that from Julius Africanus in the early 3rd century onwards Christians were constantly trying to understand the mathematical basis of reality and developed an entire science called the Computus, which perhaps reaches its apogee with the work of Bede. If you are interested, there is a comprehensive study by A. Luneau L’histoire du salut (Beauchesne 1964). It is far more like that this was the basis of their calculation of the day of Our Lord’s birth than a supine acquiescence in the date of a convenient public holiday. The same goes for the elaborate calculations undertaken to determine the date of Pascha and the deliberate care taken to commemorate martyrs on the exact anniversary of their witness.

          • Anton

            More erudite than me, but if you are going to insist (rightly, as I agreed) that the link regarding political freedom of the individual, between Tacitus’ Germans and the Witan, is conjectural, then you should do the same here – for in both cases there is no verifiable continuous connection. Please resume this discussion elsewhere on this thread, where I made a further point which I failed to just above, regarding the uncertainty of the date of conception.

      • Anton

        PS The claim is that holy men die on the same day of the year as they are conceived. But this could not have been known in the ancient world, because the date of conception is uncertain to a week or so today (when we know more about the female cycle) and three weeks so then. Sorry but I think this is tosh.

      • Jon Sorensen

        LOL. A Christians quoting a Christian apologist and convinced by Christian propaganda.

        Your article conveniently omitted how Popes (Julius I and Liberius) in the 4th century ordered Christ’s birth would be celebrated on 25th of December which replaced Saturnalia in Rome and Brumalia for team Dionysus. Even Epiphany was Mithraic festival adopted by Christians.

        I guess if you don’t tell the full story you can convince your own true believers. Christian sources will not give you the full truth. Do your fact checking from non-Christian sources.

        • Pubcrawler

          OK, it’s well past time your bluff was called. Let’s see these sources of yours, or be held to be a fraud.

          • Jon Sorensen

            You made the claim “There is no connection” first. How about you provide some sources rather than Christian apologist article. Original sources or neutral sources would be good.

            You article omitted Julius I and Liberius so are you now “a fraud and a charlatan”?

  • Albert

    Christmas has become an annual sabbath; almost the only time of the year now when families come together

    Sorry, Dr C, but when I walk down the road to the early morning Mass on Christmas morning, shop keepers are opening up for another ordinary day. No day is sacred in this country anymore. It’s been sacrificed on the altar of mammon.

    That said, I wish everyone here a happy Christmas.

    • David

      Sadly Albert, I have to agree with you. We are largely a Mammon and Self worshiping society now.

    • Anton

      That happened to Good Friday many years earlier, and Good Friday is at least attached to the one annual calendar that appears in scripture!

    • Pubcrawler

      A good proportion of the shops around me are run by Hindoos and Mussulmans, so, y’know, it is just an ordinary day for them

      • Anton

        Yes Pubcrawler, isn’t it great that you can buy beer when the pubs are shut from people who won’t touch alcohol!

        • Pubcrawler

          I will admit, it has proved handy on occasion.

      • Ivan M

        The Modi bugger ruling in India renamed Christmas as Good Governance Day, but he has sent out Christmas greetings yesterday so there is hope.

        • Merchantman

          Lo- Hope indeed!
          ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the Government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.’

    • Pubcrawler

      I am pleased to report that all the shops in the centre of Cambridge and beyond were shut as I walked home from Mattins earlier — much to puzzlement of a trio of Hindoos who thought that today would be a good day to try the doors of Superdry.

      • Albert

        Normal Sunday where I live – i.e. shops all open when I first passed them at 11.30 a.m. (I didn’t go to the early Mass as in previous years) and still open when I returned from lunch at about 7.30 p.m. It’s true that all of these shops were run by immigrants, but isn’t it obvious that it’s not the done thing here?

  • David

    Happy Christmas Your Grace !
    Happy Christmas to all who write for, or frequent this most excellent of blogs !

  • carl jacobs

    Gold for the King.
    Frankinsence for the Priest.
    Myrrh for the Pascal Lamb.

    Merry Christmas to All.

  • A Happy and Blessed Christmas to His Grace and all aboard the Good Ship Cranmer.

    • Cressida de Nova

      Merry Christmas Jack and HG and all the other communicants.

  • preacher

    Personally, I wish the politicians, planners & promisers would heed the Lord’s instructions to His disciples, when He told them to wait until they received power from on high, obviously, many think they have already done so, or even maybe they Are the power from on high. But as the Master wisely taught – “Without Me, you can do nothing !” so the proof of the (Christmas ?) pudding lies in the eating, which although it tastes good in the mouth can be heavy when swallowed, cause indigestion & heartburn but like many of those in the categories mentioned, are very rich, soaked in booze & with the best intentions, unable to deliver anything that lasts more than a day.

    But Faith is a great gift, so let us approach 2017 with the knowledge that God is in control & loves His children, & we look eagerly toward His return, & prepare for our part in the next chapter of His plan.

    God Bless you All, keep you safe in your travels & comfort you in your trials. Preacher.

  • Martin

    A good time to remember the rainbow and its meaning:

    And God said, This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. God said to Noah, This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.
    (Genesis 9:12-17 [ESV])

    Sin also will remain until Christ returns, may we pray for that return.

  • dannybhoy

    Serves you right sez I. Take a little more soda with it next time… ;0)

  • CliveM

    A Merry Christmas to all, the atheists, the agnostics, the faithful, indeed to all who post on here or simply read articles.

  • David

    Black coffee for you my lad, followed by a bracing walk !

    • CliveM

      I like to try the full English!

      • David

        Certainly Sir, step this way. Is that on brown or white
        bread ?
        I too indulge in the gastronomic delight of a “full English” when I am away in the UK. Usually I decline the black pudding and ask for extra tomato halves – yum, yum !
        In Wales they do a “full Welsh breakfast”, which is quite indistinguishable from that of their English cousins. The Irish equivalent is particularly good I’ve found.

        • Anton

          The weak point is usually the sausages. Not so in Ireland!

          Christians should not eat black pudding.

          • Royinsouthwest

            I can’t see anything wron with eating black pudding. The ban on blood was part of a compromise between gentile and Jewish believers but I cannot think of any reason why that element should be relevant today.

          • Anton

            Because it was specifically repeated to gentile believers in Acts 15.

            Most animal meat is very well bled in slaughterhouses so we have no need to worry about the trace amounts of blood left, but black pudding IS blood.

          • “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”

          • Anton

            So we have an apparent clash of scriptures. How would you reconcile them?

          • Jack is a Catholic. The Apostles and their successors, acting in unity, carry the authority to change Mosaic disciplines but not the eternal moral law or the teachings of Christ.

            Have a Blessed Christmas.

          • Anton

            I know that you chaps aren’t too up on scripture but FYI Acts 15 is in the New Testament and comes after the Crucifixion and Pentecost…

          • As did the Jerusalem Council.

          • Anton

            So why do you ignore it? Please don’t just say the Vatican says it’s OK to; if that’s the case, please reproduce the Vatican’s argument.

          • CliveM

            “Jack is a Catholic” gasp, really? Who would have thought.

            Anyway have a blessed Christmas and many more of them., fighting against us heretical Protestants!

          • Royinsouthwest

            If black pudding, or any other food, is not made in a hygienic fashion then it would be foolish to eat it. If it is made in a hygienic fashion then what logical reason can there be for refusing to eat it other than not wanting to eat products that involve the death of an animal?

            If I said that it is a sin to get blind drunk and someone asked me why then I could think of several obvious reasons. Do you really think that it is sinful to eat black pudding? If so can you point to any harm done by eating it?

          • Anton

            Because Acts 15:29 tells Christians to “abstain from blood”. This is the conclusion of a council called to determine what parts, if any, of the Law of Moses gentile believers in Jesus should be under (as well as what he commanded his followers). Blood was prohibited to Jews (apart from what was left after an animal had been bled) in Leviticus 3:17. There are three reasons for believing the command in Acts 15:29 is dietary and does not simply refer to murdering people: (1) it comes between two other commands in Acts 15 which relate specifically to diet; (2) Jesus had already told his followers not even to commit murder in their hearts, let alone in physical practice (in the Sermon on the Mount), so it would be superfluous to repeat this (and fairly obvious!); (3) the life of a creature is in its blood (Lev 17:11) and life and blood are holy unto God.

        • CliveM

          There is also the Ulster fry!

        • Royinsouthwest

          If you are lucky you might be able to get lava bread with your breakfast in Wales. In England if you asked for lava bread nobody would know what you were talking about.

          • IrishNeanderthal

            Laver bread, please. You’re making it seem quite volcanic.

            Laverbread (Welsh: bara lafwr or bara lawr) is a traditional Welsh delicacy made from laver. To make laverbread, the seaweed is boiled for several hours, then minced or pureed. The gelatinous paste that results can then be sold as it is, or rolled in oatmeal; it is generally coated with oatmeal prior to frying.

            Anyway, now is the time to say Nadolig llawen pawb.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Yes, you are quite right. I did get the spelling wrong for some reason.

    • Sarky

      Cured it!! Started drinking again!!!

  • CliveM

    Hope it clears soon, have a good ‘un Sarky.

  • Anton

    Didn’t that kid relish reading Genesis 3 from Kings just now?!

  • “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14)

    Happy Christmas to all!

  • David

    One last rousing Carol Service to enjoy this evening and then Holy Communion tomorrow morning.
    John 1 : 1 – 14, the Prologue always draws me deeper into the holy mysteries that we as Christians are privileged to be invited to witness to, fight for, love, serve and obey
    Holy is our God, most Holy !

  • Andrew Holt

    Funny, no matter how hard they try, atheists just can’t separate Christ from Christmas. Happy Christmas, one and all.

    • Sarky

      Happy Xmas!

      • Anton

        X is visually the Greek chi, for Christ…

        • Sarky

          Happy holidays anton!

          • Anton

            And to you and yours, Sarkers.

          • chefofsinners

            Holiday from the English ‘Holy day’, a day set apart to God, which Christmas most truly is.

          • Sarky

            Seasons greetings chef!

          • chefofsinners

            May you know the one who is the reason for the season, Sarky.

  • Pubcrawler

    Right, the sun has set, the feast begins.

    A happy, holy and peaceful Chriostmas to one and all. And don’t forget in your prayers those who risk violence and even death for daring to celebrate. And, of course, those who persecute them.

    This Christmas night bestowed peace on the whole world;
    So let no one threaten;

    This is the night of the Most Gentle One –
    Let no one be cruel;

    This is the night of the Humble One –
    Let no one be proud.

    Now is the day of joy –
    Let us not revenge;

    Now is the day of Good Will –
    Let us not be mean.

    In this Day of Peace –
    Let us not be conquered by anger.

    Today the Bountiful impoverished Himself for our sake;
    So, rich one, invite the poor to your table.

    Today we receive a Gift for which we did not ask;
    So let us give alms to those who implore and beg us.

    This present Day cast open the heavenly doors to our prayers;
    Let us open our door to those who ask our forgiveness.

    Today the DIVINE BEING took upon Himself the seal of our humanity,
    In order for humanity to be decorated by the Seal of DIVINITY.

    (St Isaac the Syrian)

  • Dominic Stockford

    Full churches? By no means. A few big ones that can put on a show that looks as good as the worlds show might be. But when it comes to those that preach the true Gospel of salvation through Christ alone ‘full’ is not something that happens to most of us.

  • IanCad

    To All – A blessed Christmas season.

    • chefofsinners

      And to you, Ian. Have edited you into my doggerel. Apologies for taking your name in vain.

  • William Lewis

    Your Grace, a happy, blessed and peaceful Christmas to you and yours and all your readers.

  • Andrew Holt

    Yep there it is. That old stumbling block, the cross. Can’t get that out of Christmas either. Happy +mas Sarky.

    • Sarky

      Happy plusmas???

      • Andrew Holt

        Sorry, I thought xmas was a modern invention. Hence my pathetic attempt to Christianise the word. Actually it is from Greek chi first letter of christos, Christ. And has a long and illustrious history. So Happy Christmas or Xmas Sarky.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Happy Christmas Your Grace, and to all who enter into the spirit of your blog, a sane place in a troublesome world.

  • not a machine

    A good and grateful Christmas that Christ is with us and unto those who have not yet understood the light ,may our worship, praise, our sufferings and our communion be to the good of our lord Jesus Christ and his fathers kingdom.

  • Thank you for your wonderful blog Your Grace and a Merry Christmas to you and all here.

  • len

    A happy Christmas Your Grace and all communicants.

  • Lindsay Jenkins

    Merry Christmas Your Grace. This may seem pretty run of the mill but I write from New York where until a couple of weeks ago it was de rigeur to chant Happy Holidays. Now President elect Trump has shouted Merry Christmas from the roof tops and the words echo round the nation. A new dare I say Christian era has begun.

    • Anton

      I am unconvinced of his persona faith but he might well be a Cyrus figure. Good show!

      • Sarky

        Miley cyrus?

        • Anton

          A bit older than that. A Persian emperor. The Persians were goodies in the Bible (despite being pagan) but baddies in ancient Greece (300 and all that). Happy Christmas!

          • Sarky

            Tonight we dine in hell!!!

          • Anton

            Great film, if theologically confused (and somewhat loose with its history…) If Leonidas actually said those words then he’d have used the word Hades, which simply means the realm of the dead. In the New Testament it is distinct from Gehenna, which is the place of fire to which unforgiven sinners get dispatched after judgement. Native English speakers are uniquely likely to confuse the two, because both are translated as “hell” in the King James Bible, unfortunately.

          • Pubcrawler

            “somewhat”…

          • Anton

            Not in the pub?

          • Pubcrawler

            They’re mostly shut. I am between courses in my domestic feast, just thought I’d pop in to say hi if anyone was about

            Must try not to fall asleep before the port and cheese like I did last year.

            Yourself?

          • Anton

            For logistical reasons involving others, Christmas is celebrated here tomorrow!

          • Pubcrawler

            How nonconformist of you 🙂

            Still, it’s one of the Twelve Days, so go for it!

          • Sarky

            Wasn’t gehenna the rubbish tip outside Jerusalem that was constantly alight?

          • IanCad

            That’s as I understand it.

          • Anton

            Yes, the Hinnom Valley, and also where the sewage was dumped. It was Jesus’ image for God’s rubbish tip for souls.

        • IanCad

          Miley Virus?

        • Anton

          Is it a year since your dog ate the stollen, by the way?

          • Sarky

            Ha ha well remembered. My stollen is locked away in a cupboard to frustrate the little blighter!! Although he did eat his bodyweight in Turkey and pigs in blankets!!

  • Wishing HG and all my Christian friends here a happy Christmas!

    • CliveM

      Happy Hanukkah Avi.

      • Thanks! We converged festivals this year. Obama, may his name be erased, confused things and and gave us an early gift of a lump of coal.

        • Pubcrawler

          Our government is not without blame in that business either, sadly.

          • Thank you for your sentiment, Pubcrawler. Yes, true, but in the larger scheme, irrelevant. The UK suffers from a similar condition as the hapless Ukraine, which also submitted to the arm-twisting of Obama. In truth, few things are as dangerous as an angry, humiliated loser in denial with a month left to live and no hope for an after-life. Just your basic fear paralysis of countries in a vulnerable situation. I’m sure that little Justin, our PM here, is thanking his saints (Mao and Fidel) that Canada is not in the position to have to vote on that resolution! As for France, I don’t even have low expectations there, lumping it with China and Russia.

            Given Trump’s messaging and choice of Friedman for ambassador to Israel, Netanyahu could live a little now and take a chance on Trump’s sincerity and capabilities and declare what has been obvious for at least two decades by kindly issuing the official death certificate for the “two-state solution.” We need to finally dump that ripe carcass and let those who want to mourn or move on with life do so. Me, I’ve long ago given up hope that Likud has the balls to voice the obvious on its own, so let’s all wait until after January 20th…that’s when things will get really interesting.

  • seansaighdeoir

    Wishing a Merry Christmas to HG and to all communicants.

  • magnolia

    “Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, Born this happy morning;
    Jesus, to Thee be all glory giv’n.
    Word of the Father, Now in flesh appearing, ”
    Oh come let us adore him (x3),
    Christ the Lord.”

    And in that adoratiion a Happy Christmas to all!

  • The Christians in Syria are celebrating Christmas, a joyful and uplifting report from Aleppo.

    • David

      Thanks for the link – truly wonderful !
      Shame on the western backed globalists, but many thanks to the Russians, who alone in the great nations, now support Christianity.

      • I think it’s great they have set up the Nativity and Church decorations around the bombed out rubble and the Cathedral is full for the service, no mad health and safety regs there then, Jesus comes first.

        It would seem that the Christian Orthodox Church is pulling us all upwards again. I see Patriarch Kirill was recently in Paris consecrating another Orthodox Church which makes a change.

        • David

          Agreed. Great is the faithfulness of the Orthodox Church – a beacon of light compared to the waverings found in the western Churches.

    • Pubcrawler

      καὶ  τὸ  φῶς  ἐν  τῇ σκοτίᾳ  φαίνει,  καὶ  ἡ  σκοτία αὐτὸ  οὐ  κατέλαβεν. 

    • Pubcrawler

      καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν.

      • Anton

        Paste this (John 1:5) into Google Translate with language options chosen manually (from Greek to English) and see if you can keep a straight face at the result.

        • Pubcrawler

          I failed. There are no good translations of John’s prologue (that I’ve met, anyway), but that at least is the funniest.

          • Anton

            Whoever said that Britain was not in the Bible was wrong!

          • Pubcrawler

            Yes. As Sorensen said, Google is your friend, so it must be true.

            Right, signing off. Peace.

          • Anton

            LOGOS is the trickiest word in context. I’d render it as “master principle” but I can’t think of one word in English which both conveys the idea and is reasonably poetic.

        • Old Nick

          Houts toots

          • Anton

            I think Clive should be told.

  • Royinsouthwest

    Merry Christmas to all regular visitors to this blog, and to casual ones too, and many thanks to “Cranmer” for all his work.

  • Pubcrawler

    Well, everyone, I hope you’re keeping your ding-dongs merrily on high. As for me, this where it’s at:

    (I first heard this in Jesus College Chapel, Cambridge, on a freezing February evening over 20 years ago. It blew my mind then, it still does today. If you don’t get it, well, there’s always Sir Cliff and his Mistletoe and Wine.)

    Wassail!

    • Anton

      It’s the ison, the basso drone, that makes this hypnotic. I became aware of its power from Tavener’s piece sung at Princess Diana’s funeral. (You should approve of his name, too.)

      • Pubcrawler

        12th/13th cent Aquitainian chant is incredibly rich and beautiful, I have lots of it.

        Both John Tavener and John Taverner are more than welcome on my CD payer.

        • Anton

          They are both welcome on my CD payer and my CD player!

          • Pubcrawler

            Oops! Iffy netbook keyboard and fat fingers. Nothing to do with the claret, no, can’t be that.

          • Anton

            I was in the Aquitaine area on holiday in late autumn, by the way.

  • Inspector General

    Mr Farage has urged his followers to ignore AoC ‘negative remarks’. One has to agree with him. It’s 2016, not 1938. There’s so much to look forward to as a country out of the EU. Shame Welby cannot appreciate that…

    • Manfarang

      Young people can look forward to emigrating.

      • Anton

        Consider joining them?

        • Manfarang

          I can give them plenty of advice. Many places in the world have grown economically in the last decades and I have witnessed first hand that change. There are the resulting opportunities to be had by energetic forward looking young people
          Much of Britain has stagnated in the last thirty years and that isn’t going to change.

          • Anton

            Agreed! But we’re still better off out.

          • Manfarang

            We? You maybe but certainly not most people in the UK.

          • Anton

            By Better off I mean a lot more than financially. Even then anybody who says they know is being overconfident. Economics is a graveyard of predictions.

          • Manfarang

            See how long you can live on bread and margarine.

          • Anton

            One thing is certain: If we Brexit, everything good that happens will be attributed to the decision by Brexiteers, and everything bad to it by Remainers; while if we Remain, or if the EU crumbles of its own accord (O Happy Day!) then the reverse will be true; and almost all such arguments on both sides will be speculative.

          • Manfarang

            I expect a treaty or treaties to be negotiated where Britain retains links to the E U as does Switzerland.

          • Anton

            I’m expecting a hard Brexit, because I doubt that the European Parliament will agree to what its negotiators put to it. After that, what you suggest would be likely – if the EU survives, which I must say I doubt. Continental peoples are becoming deeply dissatisfied with it too.

          • Manfarang

            One thing for sure is that other parts of the world are forming economic unions.

  • IanCad

    A Christmas story:

    I am a darn good quick and dirty camp cook. It will be tasty, hot, and served on time. Thus it was with our recent Thanksgiving meal. All who came, were fulsome in their praise. Rather too fulsome, apparently, for wife and daughter who both, when seeing adulations spread, resent any that does not fall on them.

    So, this Christmas my services were not required; indeed, my absence was demanded. No problem, much good stuff on the radio, and, as operations were to be performed at daughter’s house next door, the bliss of solitude in my garden room would be mine for a season. Lunch was set for 3pm.

    At 5pm I noticed a call had come in; several in fact. Oh Dear! OhDear! Oh Dear! Would I please, immediately, run next door and take the turkey out of the oven. As it takes several hours to cook a turkey the KP decided to visit a relative in a nursing home. Very kind, and it did assure that no risk of salmonella would attend the celebratory meal. The vegetables and stuffing had been prepared but not cooked, sweet potatoes, brussels, peas, carrots, raw cranberries to be boiled for a sauce, raw gizzards to beef up the stuffing, parsnips peeled, bread sauce recipe on the countertop, gravy promised but no juice from the bird available.

    It is now 6:30. Salvage operations are being performed. Dinner is now scheduled for 8pm. Far too late for my digestive system.

    • Anton

      Turkey carbonara?

      • IanCad

        Turkey Jerky.

    • Oh dear! Nearly as bad as Christmas 08 in our household when elderly parents were still alive. 11am and into a hot oven went the bird stuffed and trimmed with rashers of bacon to flavour and moisten.
      We prepared the veg then sampling the sherry we chatted and waited, laughing and joking our mouths started watering as 3 o’clock neared and on went the veg.

      Just after 3 out came the Turkey, shock and horror it was all raw and uncooked. We could hear the fan oven whirring, but it seems the element had gone. The strange thing was none of us noticed that we couldn’t smell it cooking. We had associated the sound of the oven with an imaginary smell. Anyway, emergency salvage into the boiling pot went the bird and we eventually had lunch at 7pm.

    • David

      Well done Ian, you saved the day !
      I can’t claim to be a good cook like you, but I do play my part. Some sixteen years ago we had a near miss with the Christmas cooking. We had just bought the house and knew that the fitted oven was worn out, intending to replace it in the New Year. As my wife lifted the turkey into the oven the glass door fell out, fortunately not breaking. But the glass door was part of the seal. I realised that the oven, without the glass door, would not reach the necessary temperature. What to do ?
      I allowed it to cool back sufficiently to touch it, and then I jury rigged, using garden wire and two jubilee clips, a fixing system. With care it could be opened and properly sealed shut. The food was cooked and the day was saved by my inelegant but practical solution. Once an engineer’s son always an engineer’s son !

  • Inspector General

    Very sad news about George Michael. A man for whom the word ‘reckless’ did not register. One hopes the Almighty will take into account his earthly unhappiness and repose his soul.

    • Yes, what a waste of a talented human being with a beautiful voice.

      • Inspector General

        Indeed Marie. Whilst we await the results of the post mortem, the pathologist in his quest to determine the absolute cause of death will be guided by knowing that ‘heart failure’ is the preferred euphemism for acute cocaine poisoning in the drug ridden world of our celebrities…

        • He was addicted to crack and had beaten it, but I don’t think one ever beats it really. Drugs have taken away so many talented people.

        • chefofsinners

          Last Christmas he gave you his heart. It stopped working the day the guarantee ran out.

  • len

    Unto us a child is born.
    Unto us.For us and unto us.
    And our response to Jesus has become the most important decision we will ever make in our lives.
    The passing of a person great or small is sad but even sadder if that person has stepped into eternity with no assurance of salvation.
    Christians have gone through terrible times, past and present, and the list of Christian martyrs goes back from the present time right back into history.But the time is now when Christians are to go through a time of testing to see if their faith is true or will fail under the testing.

    ‘I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.'(Revelation 3:18)

  • Mike Stallard

    Her Majesty the Queen got it completely right this Christmas. For the first time in years, I watched, spellbound, as she pointed out the many people who do little things and transform people’s lives. Then I watched Gogglebox and saw the two old ladies at the end singing to each other in beautiful, cracked voices to encourage each other to face up to the dog end of their lives.
    Mr Corbyn’s antics on homeless did not impress. Not at all.
    And Mass was really helpful.

  • Alicia Sinclair

    Think that we`re WAY too kind to those who-for the rest of the year-despise those of us who hold a faith. Well, Judeo-Christian anyway, they`ll not mock or insult Islam-as if!
    The secular world has been hyping up “Christmas” now since early October by way of shopping and begging us all to buy their product….for a Godless grasping desperate consumer culture, they seem awful exercised by the birth of our lord and saviour.
    No carols though, no crib in evidence-eek!
    Hope the Christians start to hound the parasitic host class of sales monkeys and vacuous sentimentalists for their presumptuous “cultural appropriation” of our Christian culture. They`d not grave rob Islam for its chintzy selling seasons would they?