By the time I get back to these august pages it will be Christmas -- or as I say during my more mordant moments, Boxing Eve -- over here.
So I wanted to issue my official Christmas message to the world (WARNING: SENTIMENT TO ENSUE)
2008 was a bit of a tough year. While, yes, work hath given much suck, and my dad's health is declining, this is a navel-gazingish sort of statement, no doubt as most of my people are in good health, we're all together and we've not had to undergo the level of awfulness which have been the fate of other people. No hurricanes, no plagues, and just a bit of sinus trouble.
I have a gorgeous wife who, inexplicably, loves me. I have two (normally) wonderful sons. In most ways I have been blessed well beyond my deserving. I know this. Perhaps you've realized this way your own bad self. It's good to be reminded of this with regularity.
That said, I will be more pleased than not to have 2008 wrap up and leave me alone. I have lost some dear people, some through death and some who turned out different than I had thought and they sublimated out of my life as quietly as they entered it.
I have been blessed with some stellar new pals in addition to the Usual Suspects. I take astonishingly little seriously, but my friendships are among those things I actually take with seriousness. Thank you all.
To all of you who have stuck around here, especially during the rough moments of the World Ending: Thanks. I am speechless -- not an easy feat, this -- with gratitude. You are all in my prayers and, old-school Catholic that I am, y'know there will be candle-lighting at some point.
Of course, being the old school Romish sort I am, you know I can't post something without a mention of Whose Birthday it is. As per Douay-Rheims (Protestant kids, feel free to substitute the KJV):
And he shall grow up as a tender plant before him, and as a root out of a thirsty ground: there is no beauty in him, nor comeliness: and we have seen him, and there was no sightliness, that we should be desirous of him: Despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with infirmity: and his look was as it were hidden and despised, whereupon we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows: and we have thought him as it were a leper, and as one struck by God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was offered because it was his own will, and he opened not his mouth: he shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not open his mouth.
Let's keep in our thoughts and in our prayers all those whose Christmas will not
be merry and bright. People who are estranged from family and friends, people who are suffering anxiety or depression, suffering from emotional or material deprivation, carrying the pains and scars of abuse and neglect. Let's never forget our individual moral obligation to those who need our help and concern. Let's not also forget all the blessings we have received, and let's not forget that chief among these are the love of family and the comfort of friends.
I wish you all the very Merriest of Christmases, spent basking in the warmth of loved ones and reflecting on the good in your life. Enjoy this honest but saccharine post, you shan't see its like for another year.
P.S. May Santa Claus/Father Christmas deal kindly with you, too.