This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

We wish you a miserable Christmas

This year, Catholics, Anglicans and atheists have a single message for us. Pope Francis, no less, has told us that, this year, Christmas is a charade. Father Giles Fraser of the BBC is dreaming of a Blue Christmas. Finally, there's Kevin McKenna of the Guardian with a rant, Away with the manger! It's a holiday, not a holy day.


Down with this sort of thing (even the outsize king)!

That's that, then. No carol-singing, please; no wishing people - even Christians - a Happy Christmas; I think it may be OK to say "Season's Greetings", since that can be said at any time, and doesn't actually mean anything. "Happy Holidays" is also out, but the sort of people who say that are miserable humourless Guardian-reading types anyway.

So how should we "celebrate" Christmas? Will sitting in a dark cupboard for three days satisfy our distinguished commentators? Or should we go out into the streets and cry "Woe, woe, and thrice woe!"?

Senna the sooth-sayer

"Woe, woe, and thrice woe!"

We've already had many happy festivals recently, what with Hallowe'en, Guy Fawkes Night, Thanksgiving, Black Friday (your mileage may vary here), so it seems a bit excessive to rejoice just because God sent his Son to the Earth to redeem mankind - hey! most of us didn't even need redeeming, as my spiritual director, Fr Phil of St Daryl the Apostate's Church, is at pains to point out.

Many will say that the usual way to celebrate Christmas - eating and drinking until you feel ill, sending cards to people you hate, buying people presents they don't want, watching rubbish on the television, etc. - is quite enough to make most of us miserable, and that this is what God (or at least the Pope) wants. So how can we stamp out the other, more joyful, aspects of Christmas - those that somehow associate it with Christ?

Hislop's blunder

Private Eye is apparently unaware of The Return of the J.C. (H/T Gareth Hurley)

As Fr Phil put it in last year's Midnight Mass sermon to a congregation of three (one old lady with her hearing-aid turned off, a sleeping man who had walked in by mistake after the pub closed, and myself), "My text today is from an old English carol, We all like figgy pudding. (We shall be singing this later as our offertory hymn, in an arrangement by Paul Inwood.) Some of you may be feeling guilty at this point - perhaps you don't like figgy pudding? It is important to realise that these words, like 'We believe in God', are purely a liturgical cliché. Following the Spirit of Vatican II, we realise that they do not commit us to anything. God loves us all - in a metaphorical sense - even those who have chosen a jam roly-poly pudding lifestyle."

figgy pudding

Purely symbolic - like angels, shepherds, God, etc.

Well, Fr Phil's sermons are usually too deep for me, but I think that - as usual - he is liberating us from the more traditional aspects of Christian worship, such as Christmas. That leaves us free to be as miserable as we wish. Enjoy!


  1. Beautifully put, Eccles.

    There's far too much Religion and Stuff, nowadays. Ask the BBC.

    May I wish you a totally miserable HOLIDAY (that's what they say in the USA, in case they offend anybody who ain't, you know what).

    Let's get back to work, taxes, Political tomfoolery, etc, as quickly as possible.

    And, by the way, that King (in your first illustration) has got above himself. When The Revolution comes, he and his mates will be the first to go. Ask The Grauniad.

    Bah. HUMBUG !!!

  2. I hope you don't think I'm being too PC over this, but, would you mind not using sexist words that could spoil the Holiday for some.
    For 'away with the manger' substitute 'away with the personger'

    for 'mankind', 'personkind'

    for 'sleeping man', 'sleeping person'

    for 'Many', 'persony'

    You seem to have a down on McKenna - but I remember a great performance in 'Born Free'.

    I think we shouldn't ignore the Popes message and should try playing football with Isis ... it's a good tradition.

    I also think that Private Eye are aware that St JC has risen from the ashes of Millipede's Labour Party.

    Miserable HOls all round it is then

    1. What an excellent riposte to dear Eccles' errors, John.

      Well done.

      You say: "we should try playing football with Isis ... it's a good tradition."

      My question: If the ball goes down, who is going to blow it up !!!???

      Miserable Christmastide to you and yours.

  3. It is all a fig meant of our imagination.

  4. Francis is off this year celebrating 13th of Tevet, 5776 with his Talmudic Rabbis while his pectoral cross is hidden in his cummerbund.

  5. Is it too po-faced of me to suggest that the McKenna piece is just a fairly clumsy parody of the secular attitude to Christmas?

    A holy Christmas to everyone.

  6. Merry Christmas to all!!! Pope Francis, I hope you are happy at least a little bit this Christmas. I am sorry that you are so unhappy. It is very sad that the pope of this world is so miserable, troubled and downcast all the time.

  7. This pope keeps making stuff up. The pickled-pepper-faced-old-maid Christians who judge others from their pedestals. Know any? I don’t either. And now: people for whom Christmas is a superficial festival of joy. We feast while Syria burns. Haha. Nobody over the age of eight feels like that, Holy Father. The whole ghastly panoply: tree-buying and assembling, only to throw it away (sorry, recycle it) a fortnight later. Turkey and Brussels that no-one likes. Sending sodding cards to people whose wife’s name you can’t even remember any more. Christmas pud – it’s so good, you eat it once a year. Choosing presents for people who’ve got everything. I wonder if the Holy Father has ever queued to get in Sainsbury’s car park (endured today) to buy a thinly-disguised cattle food called Swede. And all along we have to pretend we’re having a great time. Truth is, Christmas is meant to be a penance. It’s a dry run for Lent. Only the availability of guilt-free alcohol makes it remotely bearable.

    1. Oh, what a jolly japer you are, Anthony.

      Bah, Humbug, etc, etc.

  8. Paula N Wood has already decomposed a few dirges for miserable liturgies - "Cinder of my Laugh" is the Entry; "The Guttering Mass" is the setting; for the Offering there is the "The Prey of Francis"; after the canon is the "Snigger with Jaw"; communion is " We Place a Loaf in Your Hands" and for the Exit we all sing "I Will Race".

  9. Senex, you're quite right (though I enjoyed the McKenna piece, and thought it was better satire than you're allowing). However, most of the Grauniad comments seem to have missed the point as well.

    1. Well, yes, I expect that of the Grauniad, but not from our sparklingly witty Eccles.

    2. 'sparkling and witty' ... now that is a eccleade

  10. Well I for one certainly have no intention of participating in a charade (I prefer Trivial Pursuit but that's another story) this festive season, so on the 25th, I shall be rising at 6 a.m., having a quick breakfast of two Ryvita and a hard-boiled egg and then nipping straight out and offering my services as a shelf-stacker to one of those wretched shops that open on Christmas Day. Whatever money I'm paid for my work (and I'm hoping for at least £6.52 per hour), I shall be donating it partly to one of those charities that try to convince people in the Third World that contraception is the answer to all their problems (40%) but the majority will go to any company conducting research into the feasibility of running most vehicles on guano by 2025 (60%).

  11. Indeed, my impression upon reading this is that Mr McKenna has Ecclesed the Guardian editors with this article, at least until Nobby Stiles kicked him in the head.

  12. Failing that, I might just hop on the next flight to Mogadishu as apparently Somalia has banned all public references to Christmas. A spokesman for the 'Religious Affairs' ministry is quoted as saying,"Those celebrations are not in any way related to Islam."

    All I can say to that is "Amen, brother!"

  13. Where was it that I read that the British public no longer like Christmas Pudding with its attendent white sauce and rum poured on top before setting it alight?
    It rather looks as if the miserable Christmas is already with us.

  14. Vodka is better, JARay: lower flash point..... it leaves the rum to be taken care of though ... no problem there then