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Christmas: Peaceful or Noisy?

     The Millennium gets off to a bad start.
     The corruption of man, especially in our Western civilization, should be obvious to any realist. One proof is that any solemn religious event is reduced to an occasion for stupid festivities. It has infected even Islam. The holy month of Ramadan has just begun. In France young North Africans are celebrating it with what they call "black Ramadan", forbidden in North Africa itself. A mob of brainless young idiots gathers and for hours bangs on drums and jumps around. This is the effect of Western civilization on them.
     An earlier posting reported that a small Alsatian town claims to be the capital of Halloween, and reduces All Souls' Day to a pretext for revelry and promoting the local restaurants and soups. Strasbourg proclaims itself to be the capital of Christmas, and begins its commercialized celebrations in November. More guzzling and not much else.
     Whatever your belief about Christmas, it celebrates that great miracle, the birth of a beloved child. Its spirit is best expressed in the Austrian carol "Holy Night." Christmas carols in general are full of that same feeling.
     Words have fallen from grace, as is evident in the carol "God rest you merry, Gentlemen, let nothing you dismay." The word "merry" used to me pleasant, festive. The carol is telling suffering mankind not to fear, salvation is here. Now "merry" suggests a gross Santa Claus idiotically repeating "Ho! Ho! Ho!" He obviously has a very limited vocabulary. His belly laugh now resounds around the "Christian" world, drowning out "Silent night." He is big now in Southern Brazil. He is the "civilized" version of Saint Nicholas, whose love of children expressed the original spirit of the day. The much maligned Puritans wanted to ban Christmas as a pagan holiday. They had a point.
     I told WAISers that I intend to greet the new Millennium Tonga time, which is 8 p.m. the following day by Stanford time. I described the good people of Tonga lustily singing Methodist hymns. Alas, the Devil never sleeps. Man proposes, but the Devil disposes. He has even wrecked my plan for the simplest celebration of the new millennium--dozing in bed.
     Mankind is cursed with the lust for money and fame, sometimes disguised as "Nobel prizes." The curse has spread to the simple islands in the Date Line area. Which island can claim to greet the millennium first, and thereby rake in tourist dollars? The contenders are Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Pitt Island and Katchall Island. The devil is in the details, and the islets are resorting to knavish tricks. King Taufa'ahau Tipou IV has introduced daylight saving time, thus moving clocks and hour forward. Victory? No, there are no winners in this rush to stupid cunning.
     God rest ye merry, gentle WAISers, let nothing you dismay, A silent night to you at Christmas and the New Year. Ronald Hilton

     PS. The Devil takes many disguises. I sincerely thank the good WAISers who have made contributions to the WAIS development fund. As for those who said they would but have not yet done so, beware the Devil of forgetfulness.

Ronald Hilton - 12/11/99