Happy Mid-Winter Festival

Season's Greetings! Or so the card said, almost inviting complaints from the purists as about the real meaning of Christmas.

This doesn't surprise me; as far back as I can remember it has been surrounded by a certain amount of controversy.

There was a headline back in the seventies declaring that it would be more historically accurate to hold the festival in March. I suppose it would give us a few extra shopping days if we moved it.

Here we are a few decades later with a local museum upsetting a church leader by renaming it a mid-winter festival.

What are we to think?

I suppose most of us don't really care in the midst of our busyness and merry making.

The season's songs don't help us to get a true picture.

We Three Kings tells us the number of wise men who came from the east when the earliest story doesn't actually reveal how many.

Away in a Manger informs us that this child was so unusual 'no crying he makes'.

The song 'I Saw Three Ships' has Mary and the child on a sea voyage when Bethlehem is land locked.

Before you get the idea that it is only the traditional songs that offer simple and misleading ideas let us consider some more recent offerings.

Roy Wood tries to get us to believe that he wishes 'It Could Be Christmas Everyday'; a sentiment we are happy to sing when merry but none of us truly believe.

Then there is the immensely selfish song that begins 'Oh the weather outside is frightful'. After teasing us with how warm the fire is, it challenges the weather to Let it snow. Fine if you are inside in front of burning coal but not if you are stuck on the M62.

Even Saint Bob and Monk Midge miss the mark in their modern anthem that raised millions for charity. Perhaps we should forgive its factually incorrect message that there 'wont be snow in Africa this Christmas time'.

So what is the reason for the season? Some might say its all about the partying. Others might say its all about the gifts. It might be all about the family. My Grandma used to say it is all about the kids. She was nearly right; it is all about the child.

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