@ John Bell: You might like to check out “How …

Comment on Santa’s big day: Hot and maybe wet by Alex Nelson.

@ John Bell: You might like to check out “How December 25 Became Christmas – Andrew McGowan” (google it) which provides a very interesting account of the rise to dominance of this particular date. It’s much more complex than the commonly held belief that the Emperor Constantine was responsible for this choice.
You’re right – the actual birth date of Christ doesn’t matter which is exactly what the earliest Christians thought, too.
Originally Christ’s birth day wasn’t considered important and that is why nobody is even certain what year it was, let alone the date.
You say that Christmas “celebrates coming out of darkness into everlasting enlightenment, love and hope” but in fact that was the purpose behind the Resurrection of Christ which was the primary focus, indeed the core, of early Christian belief – without that, everything else was irrelevant.
There’s nothing wrong with going around in seasonal circles, that’s our planet’s reality. As a life-long gardener and nature observer, I cherish the seasons – we know of no other place in the universe that is as benign as our own world.
And as for history repeating, one has only to look at the overwhelming dominance of crass consumerism masquerading as “gift giving” to realize that Christmas these days is as pagan as it ever might have been in ancient times.
So yes, I prefer to ignore Christmas and downplay the significance of birth days (especially as I get older) and accept every day I’m in good health, alive and breathing, to be just as significant as any other day.

Alex Nelson Also Commented

Santa’s big day: Hot and maybe wet
@ John Bell: I retrieved my copy of the Good News Bible (Catholic Study Edition), blew the dust of the top, and opened it to the very first story in the Book of Genesis, “The Story of Creation.”
Here I find the tale of how God created the universe and the world in six days; and with each day after He had created some aspect of the world as we know it, “God was pleased with what he saw.”
It was on the fourth day that God created the sun, moon and stars “to separate day from night and to show the time when days, years, and religious festivals begin; they will shine in the sky to give light to the earth – and it was done.”
So, according to the Catholic version of the Book of Genesis, it was on the fourth day of Creation we can take it that God made such events including solstices and equinoxes.
Yep, sure enough, at the end of the fourth day we’re told: “And God was pleased with what he saw.”
Seems to me it’s kind of hard to be critical of the pagans of long ago celebrating these perfectly natural occasions as religious festivals.
Incidentally, I stand to be corrected on my first comment, this year the actual solstice occurred at about 2am Australian Central Standard Time on December 22.
OK, so we have confirmation that the Bible approves the natural events like solstices because “God was pleased with what he saw.”
How about Christmas as Jesus Christ’s birthday? Well, from a recent posting “What history really tells us about the birth of Jesus” (google it) I obtain this quote: “Firstly, the actual birth day of Jesus was not December 25. The date we celebrate was adopted by the Christian church as the birthday of Christ in the fourth century. Prior to this period, different Christians celebrated Christmas on different dates.”
Oh dear, methinks the pagans have it. Ho! Ho! Ho! indeed.


Santa’s big day: Hot and maybe wet
Today (December 21) just happens to be the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere, the longest day of the year.
This means we can all now look forward to blazing hot weather for the next two or three months – just what you all wanted to know, I’m sure!
Of course, the situation is the reverse in the northern hemisphere; and indeed the winter solstice is the actual original date and reason for celebration in pre-Christian times, before being replaced by Christmas Day.
So, merry solstice, everybody!


Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Turn rock-throwing into backflips: how community can help
I smile at the circularity of Rainer Chlanda’s preferred location of a youth hub without walls at the “courthouse lawns” (DD Smith Park), adjacent to the Alice Springs Police Station (the former Greatorex Building) and across the road from the local magistrates courthouse.
I say “circularity” because the first drop-in centre for youth on the streets at night was located in the old police station on that corner where the courthouse now stands. Established in 1976, it was named “Danny’s Place” and lasted all of no more than a year when it was forced to shut down to make way for the said courthouse.
And from that time on, youth drop-in centres, real or proposed, have bounced around from one site to another all through town; including an old house in the north end of Todd Street that was demolished to make way for an office block (now called Eurilpa House), the empty Turner Arcade – the last shop there was Grandad’s icecream shop, a once popular hang out for kids of my generation, also in the north end of Todd Mall (that was my suggestion, nearly 30 years ago) which was later bulldozed to make way for expanding Alice Plaza and new carparking spaces; and even the abandoned waterslide site in the early 1990s, which instead was demolished to make way for infill real estate development (Mercorella Circuit, near the YMCA).
We have decades of recent history of kids in trouble (or causing it) being shunted from pillar to post. As a society, history shows we’re not really fair dinkum about resolving this issue.
Sadly, there is nothing new in any of this – Rainer’s father and his colleagues were reporting on these kinds of issues 40 plus years ago, and it continues unabated to the present day.


Wakefield insists on Anzac Oval, ignores majority
@ 5 Minute Local (Posted June 14, 2018 at 5:41 pm): Definitely living up to your pseudonym. Your suggestion is not a new idea – it’s been raised several times since the early 1970s.
The last occasion was when the construction of the railway north to Darwin was being finalised in the late 1990s-early 2000s when there was significant lobbying of the NT Government to re-route the railway around Alice Springs, including by the Alice Springs Town Council.
I also took up the cudgels on this issue as an individual and was publicly criticized by a local CLP member, notwithstanding the same member several years earlier had himself advocated the removal of the rail yards out of the town centre and to re-route the eventual railway to Darwin via west of the town.
These pleas were rejected by the government as being too late or too expensive (it would have added about three per cent to the overall cost, from memory). There’s no prospect of this happening now.


Wakefield insists on Anzac Oval, ignores majority
@ John Bell (Posted June 13, 2018 at 7:51 pm): John, the only sacred trees on the Melanka site would be (or are) two old river red gums near the southeast corner adjacent to the intersection of Stuart Terrace and Gap Road.
None of the other trees I’m aware of on that site are local native species nor predate the construction of the Melanka Hostel.
This includes the towering lemon-scented gums of which the majority are now dying or dead as a consequence of lack of care and the extended dry conditions.
Consequently the trees don’t pose any significant issues for redevelopment of most of that area, at least as far as sacred sites are concerned.


Wakefield insists on Anzac Oval, ignores majority
@ Hal Duell (Posted June 12, 2018 at 7:59 am): Hal, I’m still in the process of collating information. Gathering the history pertaining to this location is rather like measuring a piece of string but it all adds up to demonstrating the considerable heritage value of this site, the extent of which I think will surprise many people.
The nomination for heritage listing of the oval and school will definitely proceed.
The fact that this issue has blown up in the NT Government’s face demonstrates the stupidity of over-reliance on advice from vested interests (with no regard for anything except their bank accounts) and overpaid outside “experts” who have no background in local knowledge.
Once again we see the consequences of the corporate amnesia that afflicts this town and Territory, and history shows it makes no difference which party is in power.


Cemeteries could be turned into parks
There is another method of burying the dead which is also held to be environmentally friendly, it is called “promession”.
According to the Wikipedia entry on this subject, it’s a system of disposal of bodies of much more recent origin (two decades ago) than alkaline hydrolysis (19th century).
It involves cryogenic freezing of bodies in liquid nitrogen to -196°C (in effect, crystallising them) after which vibrations are applied that shatter them in minutes into fragments.
This material in turn is freeze dried and all metal or other non-natural components (eg. fillings, artifical joints) are removed.
The final stage involves “the dry powder being placed in a biodegradable casket which is interred in the top layers of soil, where aerobic bacteria decompose the remains into humus in as little as 6 to 12 months.”
Invented in Sweden, it’s a method already expressly adopted in South Korea and has expressions of interest from up to 60 other countries.
I think promession also deserves consideration as an option for burials.


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