24th December 2021

Christmas Eve is upon us, following a most challenging year, twelve months that have further eviscerated our already drawn beings through a multitude of continuing global trials and tribulations. Trust is in very short supply, whom we may or may not welcome gladly through our door is open to constant reflection, the enemy we flee is invisible, subtle yet deadly, a foe whose tendrils run far and wide throughout all society,

This day, a glorious day, heralds the night prior to the moment that a large promise of hope was begat to much of the world, delivering a gift that shines bright in the darkest shadows of human existence. Adherence to the particular belief system is unimportant, for the occasion has been quite miraculously transformed through legend and pageant to a clarion call that all people, of faith or even none at all, can adhere to quite simply, through joyous revelry and a exemplary display of charity.

When I was a small child I was a choir boy, participating in all the ceremonies and gatherings of the Anglican church, that took part in a particularly cold and dim stone-built church but a spit from my family doorstep. The priest, a Canon, was a seeming sour mysterious man, who spoke slow but with great persuasion on every occasion, public or private. I recall having never seen his legs, he habitually wore a cassock, a mark of his particular denomination, that gave the illusion of him gliding about, quite scarily in utter silence, even of the ancient flagstaff floor. The Church was named after Saint Andrew, and quite appropriately Canon Beard was a Scot, with the softest accent quite as musical as any Irish brogue ever heard.

My faith whilst steadfast is ne’er as sturdy as that picturesque kirk, nor do it follow many of the tenets that perhaps I should, I am and always have been far to suspectable to weaknesses of the flesh to be a truly righteous man. I had a natural talent towards the clergy, for I understood sin quite well, and was never afraid of its touch or infection. I dabbled briefly, still keep my vestments at the ready, but found the practice of persuasion and empathy extremely exhausting, I had a weakness for giving far too much of myself far too easily. People bemoan that priests are too disconnected, I totally understand their restraint, it is entirely for self-preservation.

Both my mother and grandmother were inclined towards paganism, a very Christian paganism, if that particular interrelationship makes sense. Always remember that emperor Constantine was born pagan, converting to Christianity not long before he became the impetus behind the accreditation of the Holy Bible, particularly the prescribed form of the New Testament.

As a child I was taught what nature instructed and demanded, what objects and beings had power to affect the ways and fortunes of our ourselves and our peers. This supposed sacrilegious knowledge, law, fitted quite happily into the same gloves as did my Anglican persuasion, and still do. I have no doubt that Canon Beard crossed his fingers behind his back and threw salt over his left shoulder when spilt.

I respect unorthodoxy, the occult, primitivism, too much to mock or mess with their fundamentals, even if quite by chance on occasion I follow the selfsame directives.

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