Tag Archives: joy

#328 ~ 7 Things About Christmas.7 – The End

The 25th of December is an arbitrary day.

So Christmas isn’t really about Santa. No, I have no shame stating that, because even the people who propagate that foolishness don’t even have the decency to tell their children who Santa really is. Stop being geographically ignorant, Russia isn’t the North Pole and neither is Greece or Turkey. Aha, you are now confused. Good. Let me instruct you on a lesson (kindly passed on from the greatest Academic this world has ever known, Wikipedia). Santa is an abbreviation of Santa Claus, which is a contraction (and most likely an Americanization) of Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas was a 4th Century Bishop from Greece who pastored part of modern day Turkey and, in the long and short of it, was compassionate. Amongst many of his great exploits, he was known for helping those in need. In one case he anonymously gave a man who couldn’t pay his daughters dowry the money necessary to prevent them falling into prostitution as they were able to have honourable marriages. Revered in Russia, he’s also known for giving presents to children, especially orphans and the needy. In medieval times nuns would deposit food and gifts on the doorsteps of the homeless or impoverished on his feast day, 6th December. That’s right. If you want celebrate Santa then do it on the 6th of December. If you want to be an orthodox and wait until the Wisemen actually got to Bethlehem to drop off their Gold, Myrrh and Frankincense, then do it on the 6th January, which is known as Epiphany. If you want to be a pagan and celebrate the darkest time of the year with a celebration of light, do it on the 25th. If you want to celebrate Christ, do it all year round. 

a true light has a constant supply.

24hours are only so long. You eat, you sleep, it’s Boxing day and half the world is at the Sales. Like I mentioned in Post 2, what we view as Christmas Day today is a celebration of Christ, the Messiah and Saviour of the World, who loves every individual whether it’s the people who believe in Santa or the people who just want to make money – they’re all precious in his sight. The 25th of December is an arbitrary day. What’s important it what it means for you. If you believe it’s a time to remember to be a light in the extremely dark world where warfare, rape, violence, depression, isolation and anger are clamouring for a space, then be that light in the best way you know how. Show love, be love, be joy, happiness, peace and patience. Show good will to all mankind. Be hopeful for something better to come along. Do. But don’t just acknowledge the street sweeper on Christmas. Acknowledge him always as a fellow human who deserves to be loved. Don’t just be gracious to your sister on Christmas. Be gracious to her always as she’s a beautiful woman/girl who deserves to be loved and treated with respect. Don’t just tolerate or be grateful to your parents on Christmas. Show it always. Because a true light never goes out, ever. It keeps burning. Why? Because a true light has a constant supply.

whether you’re a believer of my faith or your own, shine brightly.

There is so much I love about Christmas. I even love the fact that people of other faiths (and atheism my friends is a faith, it’s a faith that believes there is no higher power, it’s a religion of its own so there), i love that they take time out to show love to those they care about. As a Christian I do believe that Christ exits, and that in showing love, we reflect God’s character and his goodness. But I don’t believe we should confine that light to 24 hours. We use up so much electricity just watching that banal Christmas movie, i’m sure we could light many more bulbs instead. So do. Go, whether you’re a believer of my faith or your own, shine brightly. Burn with a passion to see Justice birthed in this world. Burn with a hunger to see Peace made manifest in this world. Burn with a desire to see Love take on a deeper meaning than the scrawl on the tag of a present. Shine Brightly. Shine like the Sun/Son. Shine and be light and life in this world that asks for death.

If I ruled the world i’d banish the 25th of December. Because in reality, Christmas should be every day.

So Shine. 

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#300 ~ Psalm Series. 14

I imagined his mouth

I did. It was smooth

clean

In my mind it was sweet, I kissed it reverently

drinking in all that I was supposed to

when mouths collide.

But…amidst the saliva and the flesh

I found there was nothing…nothing precious

sacred or sanctified

It was just a silent orifice, there for a moment of pleasure

But it didn’t enrich or reward me

After all that, I had to  return to the far more mundane mouth

crowded with straggling hairs and a ready smile

a wry smile

a soft twitch of the lips

but it was lined with silver, gold and an infinite…

joy

Psalm 119 vs 72: The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. 

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#140 ~ Joan

When I was growing up eclectic was a thing that just existed within our household. It was eclectic. It was so eclectic it was before our time. Literally, we grew up listening to music from before our time.

Obviously you have the standards of your parents generation, from Jonny Cash and Elvis, to Stevie Wonder and Ray, Engleburt Humperdinck and Harry Belafonte, Miriam Makeba with Hugh Masekela, Ladysmith BlackMambazo, Paul Simon, Joan Baez, Carol King, The Mavericks, Schubert, Mozart, Chopin, Karl Jenkins, Whitney Houston, Osibisa, King Sunny Ade, Fela, Lagbaja – these were the artists my friends didn’t know from Adam, whose music pumped through our kitchen, out the new speakers that are now broken, and turned my bunk-bed into a self-massaging construction of Ikea wood.

I knew some Destiny’s Child songs, some Britney, I could do the theme song of the Fresh Prince and vaguely mouth to TLC, but if I’m honest, to claim i ‘knew’ Pop, would be assigning myself a new name: a Fraud.

Within that happily eclectic fusion example of my childhood music, was one artist whom I rediscovered today – and she reminded me about the kid inside. Joan Armatrading. In retrospect the first woman I saw and admired who wore her hair naturally, perfected the fro hawk, played the guitar folk-style, had a deep alto-tenor voice, quirky lyrics and melodies, and whom i fell in love with.

Joan and I, after discovering her first, self titled, album whilst ‘polishing’ the shelves – we clicked. We bonded, we shared jokes, feelings, stories. She got me, I got her, we became best friends. At the age of 9 I was at least 40years behind anyone else who knew her name let alone her music.

After trying, as I grew older, to get my mouth and my hips round the Pop and RnB music of my generation, I returned to Spotify and gave my old friend some Love and Affection. We didn’t have to mix any water with the wine, I was no-longer sinking as I turned off the lights. I had travelled so far in the decade since I first met her, but now I had begun to help myself. We’d worked from the bottom to the top, dropped the Pilot who was steering me away from myself, went all the way to America and realised, at last, that everybody has got to know this feeling – the reconnection with your inner self through the music that really sets you on fire. Thank you Joan, it is tomorrow, at last.

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#110 ~ One Hundred Words and a Photo : 10

It was an intertwining nexus of fragility and endurance. Each year they bloomed, bearing their frail faces to the atmosphere. Those frail faces that at times were crested with diamonds, coagulated dew drops that perched tentatively on the curve of a lonesome tear.  Fragile in their pale hues, yet stitched together in a patchwork bloom, they released an infusion of beauty into a twine nest of rustic brown. When they danced, transient petals crested on upturned lips, blessing them with a flowery kiss of frail incense. Yes, they were fragile, but preciously captured in an acute moment of pure bliss.

Photo:

Victoria O, Copyrighted

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#46 ~ Coinneadh Cu Chulian

All that identified her was the sound of the penny whistle. It glided through the air,  tickling the tips of ears, pulling at the corner of mouths, but there was no source, no presence that helped us discern its point of origin. It was too beautiful a sound, too mischievous and playful to be the result of modern music. It was too pure a sound, too wholesome and fruitful to be the expression of electronic devices.

There was something incongruous about that lilting melody. As we trudged down the street, conversation flowing, fingers dipping into salted chips and vinegar ladened fish, the bright lights of shops created an artificial luminance to the winter evening. In the shadows of chain stores, on  a filthy worn mat, sat a beggar, warmed by the heaving sides of a black labrador. Her nose was pierced, her unwashed hair hung in mangled, tattered plaits under a worn hat.

You know bagpipes. Those irritating, annoying musical british heirlooms that encourage wincing, cursing and ill will when played. They whine like a petty child with a snot filled nose, they wheeze like an elderly asthmatic too stubborn to accept their lungs have reached their expiry date. You never expect anything beautiful to come out of it. They are just part of the grand picture of British History and Archaism. Once in a while they shimmer from the mundanity of their background position, at a royal parade, wedding, maybe even New Years Eve, before melting back into obscurity, shunned into silence.

It was an incongruous sight. Seeing mottled, chapped fingers flying over the holes of that pipe. Gaunt cheeks were sucked in, eye lids half closed as the penny whistle blew, sang, its melody soaring, limitless, unbound. To see so much beauty emerge from so much dirt. To  imagine that a human, because it was a human, like you  and I are, or claim to be, could produce such harmony effortlessly, was incongruous. But like that ill-fated bagpipe, its potential was often ignored, censored.

How many of you even noticed her sitting outside Sainsbury’s, caressing your hearts with her vagabond arts of music?

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#12 ~ Illuminated with Joy

It’s when you are at breaking point. Hands wrapped in red hockey tape and blister plasters. You can’t straighten your fingers because the preventative use of surgical spirit has hardened your skin into calluses. You now have a claw hand. Yet, there is a soft glow that slowly spreads. It starts deep, deep down, and quietly, slowly but surely creeps its way up your neck, it tickles your jaw and twists your lips before a little laugh escapes. Your eyes light up and suddenly you are overwhelmed with a deep, firm sense of love. Joy. It makes you shine your brace-straightened teeth proudly and crinkles the corners of your eyes. A deep, deep joy that comes even after fatigue, frustration, worry. This is a characteristic of love. The ability to find joy in the people you think you’ve left behind. To hear their voices clearly in your mind and realise, regardless of where you are, what they are doing, joy connects you. A deep, deep joy that is love. And it makes you smile.

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