Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

12 November 2014. A View From the East… Spying on Santa (Luo Jie/China Daily)

00 Luo Jie. Spying on Santa. 2013

Spying on Santa

Luo Jie

2013

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Yeah… it’s almost American Christmas season… that is, from American Thanksgiving to Catholic Christmas on 25 December. Unlike trad Christians in the Catholic, Orthodox, and Reformation Churches, Anglo Americans have a holiday season that PRECEDES the holiday (I shit you not). There ain’t no “Twelve Days of Christmas”… there’s four weeks of utter commercialised madness starting with Black Friday (the Black Mass of this “holiday”)… then, Catholic Christmas… and all Anglo Americans collapse in a stupor, glad that the “holiday season” is over for another year. There’s not even a New Year’s celebration of any note! It’s not like the Russian holiday of New Year’s-Christmas-Epiphany… nineteen days of partying hearty and fun (including jumping in an ice hole on Epiphany… no lie, I’ve done it… don’t knock it until you’ve tried it). It has none of the hearty exuberance of “c’était un Noël au Québec” (grand-père has to come and give the family bénédiction for the coming year first)… NOBODY decorates for the season “comme le font les québécois” (must be that Caribou that they drink… half moonshine and half homemade wine). It isn’t the Sicilian midnight feast after Christmas Mass… nor is it the homely joy of an English Christmas Cake… it’s a deadening exercise… so much so that I wonder why they even engage in it.

Keep your wits about you and stay out of the malls from Black Thursday until Catholic Christmas. Then… CELEBRATE… feast, feast, feast, like real men and women and kids should. Pass me the roast beast, please… I WILL take seconds, if you will.

BMD

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

24 December 2013. “When God Is Born, No Power Prevails” (Franciszek Karpiński)

00 Polish Wigilia. 25.12.12

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When God is born, no power prevails,

Our Lord in nakedness enwound.

All fire congeals, all lustre pales,

Contained is He that knows no bound.

 

Despised, in glory comes untold,

A mortal king for aye to reign.

The Word of God in flesh behold,

Now born to share our life mundane.

 

What have ye Heavens o’er the earth,

That God forsook His sweet delight,

And wished to take a human birth,

To share our every toil and plight?

 

And He did suffer unconsoled,

And we were guilty of His pain.

The Word of God in flesh behold,

Now born to share our life mundane.

 

A meager shed for Him they found,

And in a manger there He lay.

What was He, and what was there ’round?

Poor shepherds, cattle, sheep and hay.

 

The poor had hailed Him, we are told,

Before the rich would entertain.

The Word of God in flesh behold,

Now born to share our life mundane.

 

’Twas then, they say, appeared the kings,

And jostled through the gathering dense.

For Him they brought their offerings:

The myrrh, and gold, and frankincense.

 

The frankincense, and myrrh, and gold

With rustic gifts He did retain.

The Word of God in flesh behold,

Now born to share our life mundane.

 

Raise now Thy hand, oh Child divine,

And bless our homeland from the Height.

By good advice and times benign,

Support her strength with Thine own might:

 

The hamlets, cities and the wold,

Our houses, and our every gain.

The Word of God in flesh behold,

Now born to share our life mundane.

Franciszek Karpiński

24 December 2013. “A Hymn on the Nativity of My Saviour” (Ben Jonson)

01 Christmas 2010 icon

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I sing the birth was born tonight,

The Author both of life and light;

The angels so did sound it,

And like the ravished shepherds said,

Who saw the light, and were afraid,

Yet searched, and true they found it.

 

The Son of God, the eternal King,

That did us all salvation bring,

And freed the soul from danger;

He whom the whole world could not take,

The Word, which heaven and earth did make,

Was now laid in a manger.

 

The Father’s wisdom willed it so,

The Son’s obedience knew no “No,”

Both wills were in one stature;

And as that wisdom had decreed,

The Word was now made Flesh indeed,

And took on Him our nature.

 

What comfort by Him do we win?

Who made Himself the Prince of sin,

To make us heirs of glory?

To see this Babe, all innocence,

A Martyr born in our defence,

Can man forget this story?

Ben Jonson

24 December 2013. My Sincere Good Wishes to My Friends Keeping Catholic Christmas…

00 The Adoration of the Magi. Russian. 01. 24.12.13

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To all my friends keeping the Catholic Christmas:

С Рождеством Христовым!

My good wishes to you and may the Good Lord bless all of you. I bow before you in sincere respect and friendship… oh, yes, the Russian on the image is “s bogom”, literally, “with God”, idiomatically, “may you go with God”. Have a lovely day (and do save me a piece of the Christmas cake, if you please)…

BMD

 

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