For Christmas Day

We live in a time, as in many eras, of no peace and human needs most plentiful.  How is it that we can be merry?  Or have hope?

The poem by Rossetti speaks to this mixed reality especially jarring this year.

A Rose Has Thorns as well as Honey

by Christina Rossetti

A rose has thorns as well as honey,
I’ll not have her for love or money;
An iris grows so straight and fine,
That she shall be no friend of mine;
Snowdrops like the snow would chill me;
Nightshade would caress and kill me;
Crocus like a spear would fright me;
Dragon’s-mouth might bark or bite me;
Convolvulus but blooms to die;
A wind-flower suggests a sigh;
Love-lies-bleeding makes me sad;
And poppy-juice would drive me mad:—
But give me holly, bold and jolly,
Honest, prickly, shining holly;
Pluck me holly leaf and berry
For the day when I make merry.

The Rose’s Honey: The most recorded Christmas carol, a moment where all is calm and bright.

Love’s Thorns-Making Merry

A different way to celebrate the season’s complex reality: Fairytale of New York, by Shane MacGowan.

An Irish Christmas story performed two weeks ago at the composer’s  funeral.  (from wikipedia) “Shane Patrick MacGowan (25 December 1957 – 30 November 2023) was a British-born Irish[a] singer-songwriter and musician best known as the lead vocalist and primary lyricist of Celtic punk band the Pogues.”

My colleagues Ed Callahan and Bucky Sebastian always told me Irish funerals were to be joyous events. At this service two weeks ago the congregation sings and dances to this ballad of an all too human realty this time of year.

Please share your joy with all you meet today by giving each a Christmas Hug.

Christmas eve’s rising moon.


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