The Night Before Christmas

Twas The Night Before Christmas December 1 1925 Painting by Andrew Wyeth. All Rights Reserved.

In the spirit of Christmas, I’m wearing a red T-Shirt. Nothing fancy. Something that matches my black Hobie swim shorts. It’s the eve of Christmas in the year 2017, and this old, long time poem crept into my mind.

I wanted to leave a gift for all of you right here. A gift that’s very rich, very warm and fuzzy. Very nostalgic too.

We don’t need a real fireplace, as the warmth of cinders glowing in our mind, and the warmth of anticipation on the eve of Christmas is all we need; as we wait patiently for…..

A Visit from St. Nicholas

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
n/a
Source: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (Random House Inc., 1983).

A little tidbit to ponder:  “Clement Moore claimed to have been the author of “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” asserting that he wrote the poem for his own children and recited it to them on Christmas Eve 1822. After it was published anonymously the following year, it became increasingly popular, appearing in newspapers, school readers, other anthologies, and in many different single editions. The New-York Book of Poetry (1837), an anthology of works by New York poets, contained some written by Moore, including “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” although “Anonymous” was still listed as the author. Not until 1844, when Moore’s collection Poems was published, was “A Visit from St. Nicholas” acknowledged in print as having been written by Clement C. Moore, LLD.”

Source: Poetry Foundation, 61 West Superior Street
Chicago, IL 60654.
info@poetryfoundation.org

Nite Nite everyone!!

Christmas Break Is Not Just For Kids!

I am not sure if time has changed or if time has changed us.

Once upon a time ago, being born and raised in Hawaii, the innocence of Christmas was synonymous with the arrival of cold weather, Matson cargo containers brimming with Douglas Fir, Sears (one of Hawaii’s largest retailers) would signal the arrival of Christmas with their store filled with elaborate Christmas decorations, toys, Santa’s work shop, Christmas music, food stuff, just full of everything. All the retailers large and small participated in the spirit of Christmas. Christmas music filled the air!

“The song “Mele Kalikimaka” (pronounced [ˈmɛlɛ kəˌlikiˈmɐkə]) is a Hawaiian-themed Christmas song written in 1949 by Robert Alex Anderson in 1949, but made popular around the world by Bing Crosby and The Andrew Sisters in 1950. “Mele Kalikimaka” is “Hawaii’s way of saying Merry Christmas to you” as The Andrew Sisters sing, and is commonly used as our holiday greeting.” Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There was no hesitation about Christmas being Christmas, or sharing goodwill and cheer to everyone. The Salvation Army volunteers stood and braved the cold weather ringing their bells loud and clear, in hopes the passing crowd looking to shop could spare loose change for the needy. A few wore Santa’s red suit with shiny black buckles.

Those days, it seemed to me many christians and non-christians celebrated the spirit of giving, goodwill and peace. And in retrospect; at least in Hawaii, it seemed as though it was the Non-Christian sects who exercised religious tolerance above all others. Afterall, Christmas dominated the holiday but other religions were being recognized too.

There was no national policy for religious sensitivity.  In Hawaii, the basis of being “hawaiian” was being respectful of people and regard their religious beliefs respectfully as it was a matter of Live and Let Live.

But something happened. Gradually, the Christmas music in the shopping malls slowly died. You won’t see signs and greeting of “Merry Christmas”, and locally, it would be scarce to see “Mele Kalikimaka” (meaning Merry Christmas).

A friend of mine, a professional consultant in mediation, once replied when I wished her a Merry Christmas, with a soft smile and total acceptance of who I am, said cheerfully,  Happy Hanukkah!

Likewise, friends who are Jehovah’s Witness, Muslim, Buddhist likewise will greet me back, Happy Holidays!

Will there be Good will and Peace to all?  And I do mean all?

Yet, I recognized in later adult life, some countries are protective of their religious beliefs and cultural roots and will die for it. And in a historical sense, their own society may have been decimated in religious violence, hate, and genocide.  We must never lose sight of the predicament of other societies and culture, diversely different from our own, and barely live in insurmountable conditions affecting children, women and men.

So today’s blog is dedicated to understanding this. The origin of Christmas is dubious from a historical perspective, and even in the United States, it wasn’t accepted and only in modern times (not ancient times) was Christmas recognized as a national holiday, so there is some invention to it.

The earth bound beliefs, of Light and Dark, before the birth of Christ had its Pagan origins.

How you want to label it is one thing, how you want to live it is religious freedom, which I believe is the spirit of Live and let live.

We should then live religious freedom rather than religious persecution.

Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group of individuals as a response to their religious beliefs or affiliations or lack thereof. The tendency of societies or groups within society to alienate or repress different subcultures is a recurrent theme in human history.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_persecution

Here, I am quoting this 2013 article from the PEW RESEARCH CENTER, in Washington D.C.  in it’s entirety. Keep in mind this article was written four-years ago so the statistics may have change. Still, it provides a perspective to consider. Let’s us begin…

DECEMBER 23, 2013

Christmas also celebrated by many non-Christians

81%

About eight-in-ten, non-Christians in the U.S. celebrate Christmas.

Nearly all United States Christians (96%) say they celebrate Christmas. No big surprise there. But a new Pew Research Center survey also finds that 81% of non-Christians in the United States celebrate Christmas, testifying to the holiday’s wide acceptance – or, at least, its unavoidability – in American society.

Non-Christians are a diverse group. They include Americans who are religiously unaffiliated (atheists, agnostics and people who describe themselves, religiously, as “nothing in particular”), of whom 87% celebrate Christmas.

They also include people of other faiths. A 2012 Pew Research survey found that roughly three-quarters of Asian-American Buddhists (76%) and Hindus (73%) celebrate Christmas. In addition, our recent survey of U.S. Jews found that about a third (32%) had a Christmas tree in their home last year. And some American Muslims celebrate both the religious and cultural aspects of Christmas, according to news reports.

Although Christians and non-Christians alike celebrate Christmas, the new survey shows they have differing views of the holiday. Two-thirds of Christians (65%) say Christmas is mostly a religious holiday, while most non-Christians see the holiday as more of a “cultural” event than a religious occasion.

Overall, the American religious landscape has become more diverse in recent years.

Christians have dropped from 78% of U.S. adults in 2007 to 73% in 2012.

Over the same five-year period, the proportion of adults who identify with non-Christian faiths has increased by about half (from 4% to 6% of all U.S. adults) and the ranks of the unaffiliated (sometimes called the “nones”) have increased by a third (from 15% to 20% of all adults).”

ABOUT PEW RESEARCH CENTER Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Copyright Pew Research Center 2017.

As I started saying in this blog, I am not sure if time has changed or if time has changed us. I think it’s likely both.

In Hawaii, We are a population of many. Diversity, not adversity defines us. We should be proud of that.  We are inhabitants of this part of Earth, The Hawaiian Islands, and we must do all we can to protect the Aloha spirit in all of us, so that we may manifest its continued life beyond our generation.

 

Winter Comes!

The grey street doves huddle together on the edge of the railing of the upper floors of the building. The fierce, cold winds from the North occasionally lifts a layered feather as the doves hold steadfast against the winds velocity.

I wish I could hear their thoughts. They apparently can hear mine? It’s cold. I am cold. Maybe they’re cold too?  Then again, maybe they’re not cold at all?

It is an amazing thing to see and reflect upon. By design, as many other species the doves are adaptable to the four-seasons, most noticeably the most fierce; Winter.

The winter season locks me inside a time vortex;  “the dimensional plane (PROSEThe Shadow of Weng-ChiangTwilight of the Gods) where time and space met, intersecting at an angle determined by non-Euclidean geometry. (PROSECat’s Cradle: Witch Mark)”.

And to speak of this, is a bit of science fiction and mythology, certainly no different than how human kind perceived itself in the physical world amidst all of its wonders, superstitions, and yet undiscovered realities. This tradition continues today.

The change of season; or perhaps the awareness of the passing from one as another emerges; is the awareness of the cycle of life itself. 

As humans, we often reflect deeply, and intimately as the change of season brings us closer to acknowledging our own existence in a large multi-dimensional world.

As with other seasons of change, Winter makes us pause as  our natural  environment physically changes and imparts a change within and of ourselves. I think this is wonderful!

This year on Thursday, December 22, 2017 (Hawaii Standard Time) the season “Winter” arrives in Hawaii nei.

Many of us are already expressing feelings of being in a vortex of time and space, as we seemingly travel in accelerated time, and then abruptly coming to a screeching halt!  Did it not seem as though 2017 was just a few months old?

Unbelievably, we stand on the end of time, nearest the end of the year   Two-Thousand and Seventeen!

The time vortex of the future of people clad in Gore-tex jackets vs. our ancient roots covered by shaggy animal skins as a buffer against the sub-thermal arctic winds. The parallels of time is striking. The parallels of change and evolution is striking!

The frost coming from each breath of air that I expel today is absolutely no different than the breath of frosted air expelled over 200,000 years ago.

As humans, we often reflect deeply, and intimately as the change of season brings us closer to acknowledging our own existence in a large multi-dimensional world.

And so, what about Winter.

From the Online Etymology Dictionary

winter (n.)

Old English winter (plural wintru), “the fourth and coldest season of the year, winter,” from Proto-Germanic *wintruz “winter” (source also of Old Frisian, Dutch winter, Old Saxon, Old High German wintar, German winter, Danish and Swedish vinter, Gothic wintrus, Old Norse vetr “winter”), probably literally “the wet season,” from PIE *wend-, nasalized form of root *wed- (1) “water; wet”).
On another old guess, cognate with Gaulish vindo-, Old Irish find “white.”
As an adjective in Old English. The Anglo-Saxons counted years in “winters,” as in Old English ænetre“one-year-old;” and wintercearig, which might mean either “winter-sad” or “sad with years.”
Old Norse Vetrardag, first day of winter, was the Saturday that fell between Oct. 10 and 16.

winter (v.)

“to pass the winter (in some place),” late 14c., from winter (n.). Related: Winteredwintering.
 
Wisdom For the Winter Season By Deepak Chopra, M.D.
“Winter is the coldest season, but on the subtle level it’s a time of rest, peace, inner focus, stillness, and reflection. You will gain a lot by focusing your meditation on these values.
“The flow of life naturally slows down and turns inward in this season, and it strains the physiology to resist this rhythm.
“Thoreau put it beautifully: ‘Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each’.”

Source: https://chopra.com/articles/wisdom-for-the-winter-season#sm.0000b5b8l3febdnxpqm1i8e3s32sn