Holiday Season 2023: Here We Go Again

John Hambrock's The Brilliant Mind Of Edison Lee: Buckster Bunny and shoppers. (November 26, 2017)
“Deck the aisles with panicked shoppers….”

Advent doesn’t start for another week, but my country’s Christmas season is already off to a running start.

I’ve mentioned Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Buckster Bunny and “I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas” before.

Maybe I will again, but not this week. This is another ‘clip post’: excerpts from stuff I’ve posted before.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York City, 2020: collage from Verizon's telecast.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: 2020.

Our Lord’s Family History

Gustave Dore's 'Deborah Praises Jael.' (1866) from Dore's English Bible, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.…Abram left Ur, changing his name to Abraham. He had two sons: Ishmael and Isaac.

Hagar’s son Ishmael was, I gather, legitimate by laws and customs of the day. But that didn’t soothe subsequent Hagar-Sarah tensions.

Later, Sarah’s son Isaac inadvertently passed the first son’s blessing to Jacob. (Genesis 15:116:16, 21:121, 25:1927:45)

What can I say? The family had issues.

Moving along.

When Deborah was a judge of Israel, she told Barak that his victory against Jabin’s army was a sure thing. (Judges 4:17)

Barak refused to go unless Deborah came with him. Which she did. Barak’s forces won, but God and Deborah got credit for the victory. Sisera, Jabin’s general, fled: but died when Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite nailed his head to the floor.1 (Judges 4:822)

Judith and Editors

Artemisia Gentileschi's 'Judith and her Maidservant.' (ca. 1623-1625) from Artemisia Gentileschi & Detroit Institute of Arts, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.Then there’s Judith, who walked into an Assyrian siege camp with her maid, talked her way into the general’s quarters, and removed the general’s head.

Then the two women calmly walked out of the camp. With the general’s head in a bag. (Judith 10:1118:20)

The Book of Judith says the Assyrian general’s name was Holofernes, and that he was sent by Nebuchadnezzar.

That’d be Nebuchadnezzar II, second king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire: or the Chaldean Empire, or Assyrians. It depends on who’s talking. That was around 630 BC, give or take a few decades.

Nebuchadnessar II’s territory had been what we call the Neo-Assyrian Empire up to around 610 BC, give or take a few years. I strongly suspect that’s why the book of Judith’s author called his people’s enemy “Assyrians.”

The Book of Judith is in my Bible. But if you’re an American, odds are that it isn’t in yours.

I’m a Catholic.

Folks like Jonathan Edwards set the religious tone of my homeland.

So Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Sirach, first and second Maccabees and Wisdom are edited out of most American Bibles.2

Editors had their reasons for deleting the Book of Judith.

Examination of Conscience: Getting Ready for Reconciliation

Since I’m human, I have within me an ember of the fire that forged the universe. We all do.

That sounds like the Victorian ‘lords of the universe’ attitude that made a mess we’ll be cleaning up for centuries. But it’s not.

Being made in the image of God means I have dominion over, and responsibility for, my share of this world. And for how I treat folks around me. That’s scary.

That’s also why my parish’s Advent Companion booklet has an examination of conscience before a DYI Advent wreath blessing.

The booklet’s ‘examination’ is an eight-point list that starts with —

“For the times when I forget that I need a Savior, and arrogantly conceive of myself as sufficient to myself.”
(“The Magnificat® Advent Companion”)

Each item ends with “Come, Lord Jesus!”

Examinations of conscience aren’t just an ‘Advent’ thing.

They are, or should be, how I get ready for the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation: what my culture calls Confession. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1422-1484)

I don’t enjoy reviewing my thoughts and actions, looking for misdeeds. Sins. But it’s like flossing and brushing my teeth. I’m better off if I do it than if I don’t. Happily, there’s a mess of resources out there; including these.

Failing to Love

“Sins?” I’d better clarify that.

Some actions are wrong, regardless of circumstances. Like murder, deliberately killing an innocent person. (Catechism, 1447)

Others, like sticking out my tongue, may be right during a dental exam, maybe-wrong when talking to someone, and quite often neutral.

And, although no sin is a good idea, some sins are worse than others; which is why we talk about venial and mortal sin. We also sort them out by what we misuse, how we misuse things — it’s complicated. (Catechism, 1846-1869)

But in another way, it’s simple.

Sin is a failure to love. When I don’t love God and my neighbor, and see everyone as my neighbor, that’s when I sin. And “my neighbor” includes everyone. No exceptions. (Matthew 5:4344, 22:3640, Mark 12:2831; Luke 10:2537; Catechism, 1706, 1776, 1825, 1849-1851, 1955)

Sin is an offense against reason, truth and God. (Catechism, 1849-1850)

And, as long as I am alive, seeking forgiveness is an option. (Catechism, 827, 976-983, 1021-1037, 1042-1050)

That’s all I’ll do for this week. Here are the usual links:

1 More-or-less-well-remembered folks:

2 Assumptions, Assyria, and J. Edwards:

How interesting or useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

I am sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let me learn why!

How could I have made this more nearly worth your time?

About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
This entry was posted in Being Catholic, Discursive Detours and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Holiday Season 2023: Here We Go Again

  1. Thank you very much for this review about some difficult reviews, Mr. Gill. Also, it reminds me of how I’ve somehow been managing all those monthly digest posts for a long while already. So yeah, praise and thanks be to God Almighty yet again for His work on and through all the little things, which make up big things.

  2. “…all the little things, which make up big things.” 😀 I like that!

    Also – my pleasure, and praise and thanks be to God Almighty, indeed!

Thanks for taking time to comment!