A few weeks ago, eleven MPs backed an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons about the "real meaning" of Christmas. Jim Shannon MP, of the Democratic Unionist Party, tabled the motion – what a surprise! He says he is on a mission to persuade people to "keep Christ in their Christmas". Last week’s blog was about Christian Forgiveness and of course, the DUP is such a shining light for the concept. Those Catholics may not be able to forget Cromwell’s Irish massacres, the Battle of the Boyne, the Potato Famine and the Troubles – but the DUP have no truck with such wallowing in the mire of historical, religious hatred. Their Orange songs, sashes and sentimental marches have absolutely nothing to do with hatred – they are a joyful celebration of a glorious Ulster Protestant culture. Of course. What they fail to understand is that the rest of us in the United Kingdom neither share nor understand the culture they hold so dear. Ironically, in their clinging to medieval religious ideas, they have more in common with their Catholic Irish neighbours who are similarly brainwashed by dogma that should have been thrown out with serfdom centuries ago, than with most mainland Brits who couldn’t give a toss for the antiquated values the DUP hold so dear, and are outraged that a tiny bunch of bigots should be allowed to determine the Brexit fate of the rest of us.
But I digress – this blog was supposed to be about putting Christ back into Christmas. The word Christ is of course derived from the Greek translation of the Jewish Messiah. The Jewish concept is not one that anyone sane would want to celebrate - at this or any time of year. The advent of the Messiah, first foretold by Jewish prophets two millennia ago, will herald God’s final intervention in the world – the End of Days. I don’t know about you, but on the whole, crap though we all are at looking after the world, I am not too keen on God calling ‘Time!’ on it all. According to the Bible, our own piddling little wars will be as nothing to the final Armageddon and seeing how the Israelis treat their Arab neighbours, I am personally not too keen on the elevation of the Jewish nation above the rest of us that the prophets all foretell with glee. Christians of course think that the Jews have got it wrong: amazingly, it seems that Jews haven’t understood the real meaning of the religion that they invented. The Messiah is not an avenging, military figure – he is a little baby (awwww!), laid in a manger all wrapped up in swaddling clothes (double awwww!!)) bringing a message of peace and love to this careworn old world of ours. And hasn’t it been a great success? I can’t remember the last time Christians got involved in violence of any kind. One has only to look at Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, united in a bond of Christian peace and love, to see what a force for good Christianity has been. In fact, the first coming of Jesus only postponed the second coming and that to my eyes doesn’t look a lot different to the Jewish End of Days. Except of course, it will be the Christians not the Jews that will survive Armageddon and get to lord it over the rest of us. So forgive me if I just skip over the Christ Mass altogether and just wish my readers A Very Happy New Year.