Category: Holidays

Welcome to the Weekend of Melancholy

Ah, Labor Day weekend. The most melancholy holiday weekend of the year. Another summer and its promises and excitements close. You’re poignantly conscious that another year of your life has done the same.

I’m excited about this weekend, though. I’ve had a blistering August schedule. My four August weekends: out of town with tons of driving, 20 people in my house, host large office party that took strenuous effort in extreme heat/humidity, host more guests and my granddaughter’s baptism party.  

I’m so excited about the prospects of an unmolested weekend, I jumped the gun last night and drank three Moscow Mules before attending my local high school home opener football game and watch my two youngest in the marching band. I have a mild hangover this morning, nothing that couldn’t be squelched with two aspirin and caffeine, but I have a huge blood test at 8:00 this morning so I can’t take anything. I’m really bumming.

The blood test is for InsideTracker. My doctor says my blood tests are very good, but I don’t like what I see. I think I may have early-onset diabetes. My doctor agrees my numbers indicate that, but my blood sugar is very good so I don’t. I’m not so sure. I told Marie awhile back, “I wish I could find a good nutritionist who could review my blood work and give me holistic nutrition and exercise advice.”

Enter … Read the rest

Southern Literary Figure Hated Confederate Statues

Will Percy (Walker’s cousin and guardian) was no fan of the Confederate monuments, saying they’re so pathetic, they don’t even qualify to be ridiculous:

[Y]ou will find in any Southern town a statue in memory of the Confederate dead, erected by the Daughters of something or other, and made, the townsfolk will respectfully tell you, in Italy. It is always the same: a sort of shaft or truncated obelisk, after the manner of the Washington Monument, on top of which stands a little man with a big hat holding a gun. If you are a Southerner you will not feel inclined to laugh at these efforts, so lacking in either beauty or character, to preserve the memory of their gallant and ill-advised forebears. I think the dash, endurance, and devotion of the Confederate soldier have not been greatly exaggerated in song and story: they do not deserve these chromos in stone. Sentiment driveling into sentimentality, poverty, and, I fear, lack of taste are responsible for them, but they are the only monuments which are dreadful from the point of view of æsthetics, craftsmanship, and conception that escape being ridiculous. They’re too pathetic for that.

Lanterns on the Levee: Recollections of a Planter’s Son(1941). By William Alexander Percy. 348 pp. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. $3.

Will Percy was not a BLM advocate, much less an Antifa subversive. He was “the embodiment of Southern culture, … Read the rest

Merry Christmas

“He rules the world with truth and grace.” —Isaac Watts ++ “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” —Charles Dickens ++ “The Incarnation…illuminates and orders all other phenomena, explains both our laughter and our logic, our fear of the dead and our knowledge that it is somehow good to die, and which at one stroke covers what multitudes of separate theories will hardly cover for us if this is rejected.” —C.S. Lewis ++ “Regarding not the day, let us give God thanks for the gift of His dear Son… If it be possible to honor Christ in the giving of gifts, I cannot see how while the gift, giver and recipient are all in the spirit of the world… [B]ut we have a Christ gift the entire year.” —Charles Spurgeon ++ “Holiday and Holy Day, Christmas is more than a yule log, holly or tree. It is more than natural good cheer and the giving of gifts. Christmas is even more than the feast of the home and of children, the feast of love and friendship. It is more than all of these together. Christmas is Christ, the Christ of justice and charity, of freedom and peace.” —Francis Cardinal Spellman ++ “The place that the shepherds found was not an academy or an abstract republic; it was not a place of myths allegorized or dissected or explained … Read the rest

Christmas Eve with GKC

In the round of our rational and mournful year one festival remains out of all those ancient gaieties that once covered the whole earth. Christmas remains to remind us of those ages, whether Pagan or Christian, when the many acted poetry instead of the few writing it. “Christmas and the Aesthetes,” Heretics

Christmas [is] the old European festival, Pagan and Christian, that trinity of eating, drinking and praying which to moderns appears irreverent, the holy day which is really a holiday. “Dickens and Christmas,” Charles Dickens

If you do not like what is sentimental and ceremonial, do not celebrate Christmas at all. You will not be punished if you don’t; also, since we are no longer ruled by those sturdy Puritans who won for us civil and religious liberty, you will not even be punished if you do. Illustrated London News, Jan. 12, 1907

When Bernard Shaw says that Christmas Day is only a conspiracy kept up by poulterers and wine merchants from strictly business motives, then he says something which is not so much false as startlingly and arrestingly foolish. He might as well say that the two sexes were invented by jewellers who wanted to sell wedding-rings. “The Dramatist,” George Bernard Shaw

Everything that is really lovable can be hated; and there are undoubtedly people who hate Christmas. Illustrated London News, Jan. 13, 1906

Christmas occurs in the winter. It is … Read the rest

GKC on Waugh

Evelyn Waugh liked to send out satirical Christmas cards, and the apex (or nadir] of this practice was reached during the Christmas season of 1929. Waugh’s card that year consisted of extracts reprinted from unfavorable reviews of his first novel, Decline and Fall. The harshest passage of all was taken from a review by Chesterton. [Christopher Sykes, Evelyn Waugh, Boston, 1975, p. 98]… Read the rest

Drinking with Children

The first Christmas card

Tis the season . . . to get kids drunk.

The very first Christmas card showed a young child drinking mulled wine. It was 1843, the year Dickens’ Christmas Carol came out.

One of the works of art proved very popular, selling out its first edition in six days (from December 19th to Christmas Eve).

The other work of art wasn’t quite so popular, producing such a backlash of outrage that no one even tried to produce another Christmas card for three years.

My only question is, how do they know the kid was drinking mulled wine? It looks like an ordinary glass of wine to me.

I’m guessing they just assumed it, since mulled wine is a traditional Christmas drink.

I’m not sure I’ve ever had it. I’ve been looking at recipes, though, and am thinking I’ll have to make some this holiday season. I’ve kind of been on the wagon lately for health reasons, so this might be a nice bridge into drinking this holiday season.

If anyone has recommended recipes, please email them to me.… Read the rest

Everlasting GKC for Advent

Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote “Sweet Home Alabama” as a rejoinder to Neil Young’s smug “Southern Man. Likewise, GKC wrote The Everlasting Man as a rejoinder to H.G. Wells’ Outline of History.

In both cases, the rejoinders won.

The Everlasting Man explains history as part of the revelation of the Christ. It’s no wonder that the Advent season figures largely in it.

Some choice passages:

“Any agnostic or atheist whose childhood has known a real Christmas has ever afterwards, whether he likes it or not, an association in his mind between two ideas that most of mankind must regard as remote from each other; the idea of a baby and the idea of unknown strength that sustains the stars.”

“It is no more inevitable to connect God with an infant than to connect gravitation with a kitten.”

“Bethlehem is emphatically a place where extremes meet.”

“If the world wanted what is called a non-controversial aspect of Christianity, it would probably select Christmas.”

“You cannot chip away the statue of a mother from all round that of a new-born child. You cannot suspend the new-born child in mid-air; indeed you cannot really have a statue of a new-born child at all.”

“You cannot visit the child without visiting the mother; you cannot in common human life approach the child except through the mother. If we are to think of Christ in this aspect at all, the other … Read the rest

Rage Against the Machine

“I am propelled along by my activities, for I am merely a cog in their great machinery.”

Benedict XVI, The Blessing of Christmas

Benedict has a paradoxical way of writing at times.

I guess that makes sense: all truth is ultimately paradoxical (the Divine Man, the Crucified God, the Almighty Baby), but he has a way of “bringing it home.”

In this passage, he flips around activities and motivation.

We commonly think that we undertake our activities. “I do this. I do that.”

But no, says Benedict. Our activities tell us to do this or that. We are “propelled along.”

On top off that, Benedict says our activities constitute a “great machinery.”

Odd claim, that. Gardening, golfing, small talk at the coffee shop, laundry, shopping: great machinery?

I wouldn’t think so, but Benedict is saying that, for all practical purposes, they are. We treat them like they are great: important, compelling, absorbing. And so they propel us along like they are.

Benedict encourages us to escape this great machinery during Advent.

He suggests that we treat greet Advent like we might greet an illness. During an illness, we are drawn out of the great machinery.

I am obliged to be still. I am obliged to wait. I am obliged to reflect on myself; I am obliged to bear being alone. I am obliged to bear pain, and I am obliged to accept the burden of

Read the rest