The tenth day of Christmas

On this tenth day of Christmas, I realize that I have taken most of the Christmas season off from blogging… which was probably healthy, even though not a deliberate decision. Having entered a new year, I believe that it is time to move forward, to consider where I have been and where I am going, and to make plans in hope and in optimistic Christmas spirit.

We had a lot of family time together for Christmas, which was good… although I also found it necessary to retreat from the crowd and regather my energy. One of my gifts was a splendid commentary on the book of Daniel, and I have already read more than half of it. Other books were also under the tree, plus I invested some of my gift money in books which are on their way to my house. I was asked a second time last month to speak at a funeral. The funeral took place on December 31, so I used the opportunity to talk about last days and about our Christian hope as we live in the last days and look forward to the new creation.

The last several months I have been writing essays on history, drawing upon lectures I delivered in the college classroom when I was still a college instructor, before COVID hit. I probably have about ten to twelve more of those to write, and I hope to produce one a week for the next three months or so.

Meanwhile, as I have been reading through my philosophy library the past couple of years and have finally reached the twentieth century, I have been developing ideas for a book about philosophy. My thought is that this book will contain some characters and plot and drama—a student working on a doctorate in philosophy while working part-time in a store, a bungled hold-up involving a shooting, then time for recovery, followed by a trial. This plot will introduce opportunities to examine truth—truth as seen from different points of view, and the effort to discover a genuine truth behind those perspectives. But what I will write and post first will be some comments about philosophy that (I hope) will become narrative and conversation in the book, as the main character explains why he is studying philosophy and how it applies to “real” life. My goal is to produce one post a week for this project, and we will see how it goes.

Aside from that, posts will come as they come. They might reflect current events, weather, holidays, or life in general, as the mood strikes me. If I continue taking a break from time to time (as I did in 2021), that will mean that I am busy with other things.

I wish each of you the richest blessings in this new year. May it bring us joy and peace and reasons for hope. J.

20 thoughts on “The tenth day of Christmas

  1. There were a few reverends and even non-affiliated religious persons who offered their services to speak at funerals for a fee. Typically the strategy would be to consult a family member who knew the deceased.. and you asked specific questions as to certain life milestones we all have… birth, education, military service, occupation, marriage, children… then behaviors like humor, a life changing event, even quirky habits… then you mentally assemble that in your mind. It’s all less about a mournful eulogy and far more about directing it all as a “celebration of life”. If the deceased was a practicing Christian then it was easier to bring into points of scripture. There’s actually such celebration eulogies online you could pull from to form a kind of boilerplate/template from which to expand. Tragic deaths are very difficult, and get more difficult the younger in age of the deceased. It pretty much sickened me when the parson couldn’t shift gears from speaking at a funeral of an elderly person who died essentially of all age… and at a funeral of a young person mumble garbage about.. “God needed her in heaven.” Nothing like placing “blame” for a young person’s tragic death onto God to make the parents/family somehow feel consoled.
    I came out of my funeral experience drifting to a bit of religious cynicism in general. But that’s just me. Funerals are for the living.

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    • The pastor whom I was assisting by preaching at the service hated the expression “celebration of life.” But I encouraged him to spin it to: “celebration of the life the person lived and also of the eternal life promised to this person.” It always helps to know the deceased or to get information from the family about the deceased. I share your fury at the saying, “God needed Joe in heaven.” God doesn’t take people away–death takes people away. God grasps them out of death’s hands to bestow life again. By the way, when I had this conversation I mentioned, Internet boilerplates were not yet available. But I’m sure a lot of people in that position had already developed their own standard outline. J.

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      • Your compromise to the celebration of life objection by that pastor is/was a good move of the moment. I do understand the pastor’s objection. I simply don’t find personally that one takes the moment of missing a deceased loved one to promote a spirituality that is already a measure of complex understanding. The idea is to remember the person as a person and what they did.. and maybe how they did it…. rather than dwell on asking the Almighty to accept him into heaven. Just a different way to help the family.. which is the entire point of a funeral. But I do miss having been in the business back then. Met my current GF there… and we were a great team and served the community quite well. You would have been a great addition. 🙂 I takes a lot of sincere empathy to succeed in that line of work.

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  2. It sounds like you have lots of good stuff on your plate. I too was able to enjoy family over the holidays after a long bout with COVID. God bless you as you continue on your journey, and may he prosper you in the New Year.

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  3. To perhaps assist with your book plot thought.. if you haven’t already seen the movie, check out “Vantage Point” (2008)… it’s an assassination attempt on the President…. with the resultant investigation being revealed from the vantage points of different people reliving the event from their perspective.

    BTW… good you were able to give words at a funeral. I hope it helped those in mourning. I was in the funeral biz for 5 years arranging and preparing for the families.

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    • I’ve had interesting conversations with people in the “funeral biz.” Such as, what did they say when called to speak at a service where no minister was invited? One man told me he had a set piece that began, “Well, I know Joe was a good guy, because if he wasn’t, you all wouldn’t be here….” How much better to be able to offer the comfort that comes from the promises written in the Bible and to say, “and Joe believed these promises, which we know the Lord is keeping to Joe…” J.

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  4. Whatever you do, I will benefit- if it is blogged. 😀 If not blogged, I’m sure others will benefit either here and now, or in the future in case of books. Your philosophy novel sounds like a winner.

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