Time to down arms at Christ­mas

Bray People - - Bray People -

CHRIST­MAS 1914 and the world was at war. In that place known as No Man’s Land, Bri­tish and Ger­man sol­diers downed their weapons and chal­lenged each other to a game of foot­ball. It was their way of mark­ing Christ­mas Day.

Just a few hours ear­lier they had been do­ing their damn­d­est to oblit­er­ate each other and once the full-time whis­tle had gone, they would be get­ting right back to it. Proof, that even ma­rooned in the most dire of sit­u­a­tions, there’s a spe­cial lit­tle some­thing about Christ­mas that can make peo­ple change their ways. Tem­po­rary though it may be.

As the year 2008 faces its last hur­rah, a week of fes­tiv­i­ties awaits us. But this year it’s go­ing to be very dif­fer­ent.

Christ­mas 2008 will not see the onus lie with the qual­ity of gifts re­ceived, for we are des­tined to re­turn to the core prin- ciples of what the sea­son is es­sen­tially about. The re­tail sec­tor has re­ported losses not seen since the harsh win­ter of 1984 and peo­ple are shun­ning the ma­te­ri­al­ism that drove them when times were dis­il­lu­sion­ally pros­per­ous, and moral val­ues are back in style. And ex­pect a surge in church at­ten­dances this year, as peo­ple wel­come an es­cape from the un­ex­plain­able tur­moil our world leaders have sleep­walked us into.

Back in Novem­ber, when the Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions were hanged from the street rafters, in­vei­gling shop­pers into the keeper’s den, it was hard not to be cyn­i­cal at the ef­forts be­ing made to get us to spend, spend, spend.

But it now seems to have been a fu­tile ex­er­cise and in­stead we have had two months of a sea­sonal at­mos­phere to dis­tract us from the stream of mis­ery flow­ing from Dáil re­ports.

The next week is for fam­i­lies to rally and for­get, if pos­si­ble, what is hap­pen­ing in the broader pic­ture.

Shakin Stevens, cribs, se­lec­tion boxes, mulled wine, soap opera over-in­dul­gences and the look in that spe­cial some­one’s eye when they un­wrap that care­fully thought out gift - that’s what the grass-roots Ir­ish Christ­mas is all about. And here’s hop­ing you and yours have a good one.

A STAR IS BORN

AF­TER last year’s shock­ing in­jus­tice when Rhy­dian was thieved of a crown he so richly de­served, the writ­ing was on the wall for Alexan­dra. Surely his­tory would re­peat it­self and doe-eyed Eoghan, as like­able as he was, would surf to victory on a wave of teenage texts. But no, the daugh­ter of the for- mer Soul II Soul singer did it and boy did she do it in style. It was an aw­ful se­ries of the X Fac­tor but the best was kept for last. Alexan­dra’s per­for­mance of Hal­lelu­jah was a tonic and ar­guably one of the finest live per­for­mances ever seen on tele­vi­sion. Leona watch out, a woman with soul is com­ing for your crown.

MIND THE BIRDS

SPARE a thought for the birds (not the ones in the mini-skirts) this win­ter. In the back gar­den hangs a tube of seed that is bring re­filled once a week such is the hunger that is de­vour­ing the feath­ered ones.

No bet­ter an op­por­tu­nity to en­tice the robin red­breasts, wag­tails and co round to yours and a chance to make new friends for life. And you never know, be good to them and they might even stick around for spring.

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