Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Christmas Eve

Saturday (After coming home at 4AM) I woke up at 12, showered, packed up, and headed to Holborn for pre-Christmas. Kara had left a little earlier for a friends place to spend Christmas Eve with him. Andy, Anna and I decided to walk around town a bit, to get out and stretch our legs, and not have to be at work anytime soon. It was a really good feeling. Our trio wandered deserted the downtown areas, marvelling at how empty it was, and how there were no cars or people to be seen anywhere. I’d imagine this is what it would be like during a war or maybe a disease (like in 28 Days, a movie that I never saw).

After wandered for quite some time it was starting to move toward darkness (which means it was nearly 2:45) and I wanted to see the ‘Silver Bullet’ up close, I mean what guy doesn’t, am I right? It’s actually called the Swiss Re Tower (look it up on and it is one of the most distinctive buildings on the whole of London’s skyline. Unfortunately, I had neglected to bring my camera on this walkabout, but the building was incredible up close, just as I’d imagined it would be. After the long walk to the building Anna, Andy and I were ready to head back to the Churchill, and just hang out. We waited for other Christmas sleepover guests to arrive, relaxed, rested a little, and then around 1030 headed to St. Paul’s Cathedral for midnight Christmas services.

This was something that I have never before done. I had, in my younger days, recognized Christmas as a religious holiday and celebrated (in my own way) the birth of Jesus and all of that, but I had never been to religious service on Christmas. I was more interested in seeing the cathedral and having something to do then actually going to the services, but that is neither here nor there. With my present beliefs, I was almost with Shawna (who didn’t go), who felt that by going she would be out of place, uncomfortable, and an insult to the people who were there to worship because she didn’t believe what they believe. I went to not to be preached the ways of others, but more as an experience that I would never have a chance to see again. I know my beliefs, and they do not require others to believe the same as I do.

He cathedral was amazingly beautiful, and the services (while rather long winded) involved a procession, lots of choir singing and a number of different speakers (preachers) of different ‘ranks.’ I was trying to be open and non-judgemental, but my psychological/media oriented mind picked up on a number of things that I then felt compelled to hare after the service was concluded sometime around 1p. They threw open the enormous main doors and the fog in the streets floated by bathed in the spotlights on that cathedral, and the people filed out slowly, it was quite a display of power. I sat in that cathedral and thought hard about all I know of Jesus and his teachings, his feelings toward Earth being your place of worship, nature above all, not the Church. I thought about how Jesus always felt that the Church as an institution was wrong, and how Christianity was originally the religion of the poor and the helpless, the serfs and the slaves, not the wealthy Romans or pharaohs… just the poor Hebrews. It was an interesting thought to have sitting in that ornately decorated cathedral with gold and colour shining all around me.

I read through the pamphlets and the follow-along speaking parts. Listened to the priests speak of eternal life and was reminded not of religion and riotousness, but of advertising. Everyone knows, that political power comes from the masses; you need them to carry your message. Churches have had political power for centuries, the more the better. They were selling this religion, these ideals, to the masses. It was obvious! Using promises and language that would convince and make people feel better about their hard lives (especially dozens of centuries ago). My mind was racing; they were selling the ideals… I re-read and listened even more intently to what they were saying when they spoke of the old ways and used the old words. Words that were supposed to help to make people feel better and join up, like a “kingdom of gold,” (definitely important to people who lives as serfs or slaves) and “mine is the power, no king before God,” (because if you are poor and looking for a better life, you need to recognize something more than the one who has power over you - someone more powerful than even a king), and the clincher, “everlasting life through Jesus,” who is not afraid of death!? It’s a promise that no one can dispute! It was an interesting revelation that I shared with Andy after the service, and then Amanda later (but she became quite upset with me, so I dropped it).

After the services we all headed home, ready to get some sleep before Christmas was to come. We stayed up for a good few hours talking and laughing, but eventually at who knows what time, we all drifted off.

No comments: