Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Saturday, December 25, 2021 12:27 am

A light in the darkness

For years now, since my kids were tiny, it has been my habit to stay up after everyone else has gone to sleep, watching in the dark as Christmas Eve turns into Christmas Day.

Christmas stories from the Bible generally come from Luke’s Gospel. But in recent years, one verse from John’s Gospel has reverberated with me more, and not just because I think about it at midnight. It’s a symbol not just of Christmas, but of everything — where we stand as a people and as a country, and where good and evil stand in this world. In both this country and the world, good is under constant, dangerous assault from evil. But evil has not yet triumphed.

Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t. We don’t know what the future holds. All we know is the present, here and now. And this present might look very different to a Ukrainian, or an Uighyer.

But here’s how it looks to me, as John’s Gospel, Chapter 1, verse 5, has it:

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

No whitewashing the past. No guarantees about the future. Just the Present, here and now.

That’s not the story Luke’s Gospel tells. It foretells the triumph of the Prince of Peace. But you and I, in the here and now, in the brief time we have here on Earth, have no guarantees.

What we have, I hope, is faith, even in the darkness. What we have, I hope, is the willingness and ability to work, right now, today, to bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth. What we have, I hope, will be enough.

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 24, 2016 10:34 pm

Unto us a child is born; unto us a Savior is given

Filed under: I want my religion back.,Religion — Lex @ 10:34 pm

Here on the East Coast it’s late on Christmas Eve, the night before the day we in Christendom celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Christ.

And while it’s comforting and heartwarming to think tonight about that baby, born of a virgin, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a Bethlehem manger, it’s a whole lot more disturbing and discomfiting to think about the man who that baby grew up to be.

He was a radical advocate for the poor, the outcast, the ill, the downtrodden, the disempowered, the misbegotten — and he made it very clear that the way you show your love for God is by showing your love even to the least of these and without hesitation.

He was, in short, the man most qualified to speak to and against what America has become, on the cusp of 2017 and the cusp of the Age of Trump.

He spoke, and speaks today, against narcissism. He spoke, and speaks today, against false piety. He spoke, and speaks today, against false moral superiority. He spoke, and speaks today, against authority without morality. And he didn’t just speak against those who preyed on the poor and downtrodden, he put his sandaled foot up their asses on the very steps of the Temple and dared anyone short of God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, to do anything about it.

So, yes, let us celebrate the birth of the Christ — both the babe and the man he became. Let us speak for those for whom he spoke. Let us speak against those against whom he spoke. And let us act without hesitation against those who prey on their moral and spiritual betters.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013 12:58 am

The Gospel According to Pierce; or, A Christmas Prayer, With Carrion

And Pierce wrote, saying:

But this is the argument in season over these holidays. That the poor must suffer in order to be redeemed. That hunger is a moral test to be endured. That only through pain can we hope. What doesn’t destroy you, etc. Santa Nietzsche is coming to town. The idea that we should — hell, that we must — act out of charity for each other through the institutions of self-government is lost in the din of a frontal system of moral thunderation aimed at everyone except the person who is out there thunderatin’ on behalf of personal-trainer Jesus, who wants us to work, work, work on that core.┬áThat was the way that government operated once before; the specific institutions that Scrooge mentions, and with which the Spirit eventually reproaches him in his own words – the prisons, the union workhouses, the treadmill, and the Poor Laws – were all government institutions based on the same basic philosophy that drives the debate over the food stamp program today.(We even seem to be going back to debtor’s prisons.) We have speeches on self-reliance given by government employees to people who increasingly have only themselves on whom to rely, day after grinding day. It is a way to keep the poor from having a voice in their own self-government. It is a way to keep the wrath of the boy at bay. There will be a reckoning, one way or another. But it can be staved off by platitudes, and by verses from Scripture wrenched from the obvious context of the Gospels. The sepulchers brighten whitely while the bones inside grow increasingly corrupt. This is what this Congress believes, as it goes home proud of itself and its members dress themselves to sing the midnight carols with no conscience sounding in counterpoint, and this is Christmas in America, and it is the year of our Lord, 2013.

Merry Christmas to all, and tonight, God bless us, every one. But forgive me, Lord, in advance, for hoping and praying that the year of our Lord 2014 brings plague and pestilence upon those who would force the suffering to suffer further, those who would insist upon morality tests for the poor that they themselves could not pass, those who would require that many of our fellow Americans be denied a voice with which to insist anything. Bring on the plagues for them, turn their fruit into locust husks, their wine and water into blood, and their foie gras to feces, and let their corrupt bones and those of their first born be cast out from the whitely brightened sepulchers to be feasted upon by jackals and vultures.

Except for those who repent and atone. Always except for those.

Amen. And Amen.

Sunday, December 25, 2011 6:07 pm

Silent Night

Filed under: Fun,Love — Lex @ 6:07 pm

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Saturday, November 26, 2011 3:34 pm

Music for the season

Filed under: Cool! — Lex @ 3:34 pm
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Big Star, “Jesus Christ”:

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, January 16, 2010 12:25 am

Emptying the phonecam, trimming the tree

Filed under: Hooper — Lex @ 12:25 am
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Hooper, December 2009:

Saturday, January 2, 2010 12:30 pm

Emptying out the camera

Filed under: Fun,Hooper,Victoria — Lex @ 12:30 pm
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Some recent photos:

Hooper checks out a Christmas gift from Uncle Frank and Aunt Christine, Sunday, 12/27/09

Hooper checks out a Christmas gift from Uncle Frank and Aunt Christine, Sunday, 12/27/09

Off-balance shot from inside the van of Hooper atop a plowed pile of snow in a parking lot.

Off-balance shot from inside the van of Hooper atop a plowed pile of snow in a parking lot.

Hooper gets to go snowboarding for the first time in his life, 12/19/09.

Hooper gets to go snowboarding for the first time in his life, 12/19/09.

Victoria prepares to give Hooper a push-off on his first-ever day of sledding, 12/19/09.

Victoria prepares to give Hooper a push-off on his first-ever day of sledding, 12/19/09.

Friday, December 11, 2009 9:40 pm

You want a war on Christmas? You can’t HANDLE a war on Christmas!

Filed under: I want my religion back. — Lex @ 9:40 pm
Tags: ,

Saturday, December 27, 2008 9:36 pm

Christmas ‘n’ family

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 9:36 pm
Tags: , , ,

As the family (both nuclear and blended) grows more extended, it gets harder and harder to get everybody together in one place at one time for Christmas, even on just one side of the family. So we didn’t do that this year. But we still had a lot of fun.

Before we got together, of course, Hooper and Victoria had to register their demands requests with Santa. Santa had new digs at Friendly Center this year — bigger and airier — and we were fortunate to catch him at a time when there wasn’t much of a wait.

Victoria’s old enough to know better but quite happy to play along.

On Sunday 12/20, my brothers and I gathered at Mom’s condo, along with Frank’s girlfriend Christine and her kids. The kids, seated from left: Avana, Hooper, Taylor. Standing, from left: Whitney, Victoria, Jordan, Matthew.

This is how my brother Hugh, whose son Dylan is grown and gone, deals with the sound of seven kids in one condo.

On Christmas Day, we had Christmas dinner with friends in Chapel Hill. My friend’s uncle brought tissue-paper crowns for all the kids. Here’s Victoria in hers. Note, as she would insist you do, her new top and matching hand socks.

This weekend, V, H and I returned to Mom’s to get together with my stepsisters and their kids. As it happened, my cousin Lynn Margaret, her husband and their two kids were passing through en route from Connecticut to Florida, and so they stopped in for a bit as well.

Here’s Hooper playing Nintendo DS with his stepcousin Benjamin.

Lynn’s older daughter, who is 5, is also named Victoria.

Here are the two Victorias. You can tell they’re Alexanders. They’ve got that whole blue-eyes thing going on.

Victoria W., who is in kindergarten, is scary smart, just like her second cousin was at that age. She was practicing her cursive writing, and I asked her how she learned it. She said, “Well, I go to a Christian school, which means pretty much nobody does any bad things, so the teachers use the extra time to teach us cursive.”

Because Satan’s handiwork is a real timesuck and all.

Here’s Victoria W.’s 13-month-old sister, Isabella, who was just as charming as her big sister, albeit somewhat less talkative. She’s mildly annoyed here only because the phone isn’t beeping when she pushes the buttons. As is true of many toddlers, she don’t truck with no TOY cell phones.

And last but not least, our newest family member: my stepsister Kristi’s 4-month-old daughter, Madelyn. In this unfortunately unfocused picture, she’s opening her present from cousin Benjamin. We dubbed it the Maddy Lion.

I hope your Christmas was merry. And if I don’t blog again before then, Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 11, 2008 9:42 pm

Ralphie redux

Filed under: Fun,Sad — Lex @ 9:42 pm
Tags: , ,

Anyone with a lick of sense knows that “A Christmas Story” is the second-greatest Christmas movie ever made (trailing only “Die Hard,” of course). Now, thanks to the New York Daily News, we have a photo gallery catching up with the cast 25 years later. (Except Darren McGavin, whom I really still miss.)

(h/t: Nance)

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