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SEEKING THE TRUE MEANING OF XMAS

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Let me get one thing out in the open before we start. I don’t believe in God! I never have. There is no masterplan and there is nobody in the clouds pulling the strings. When I was 16 and worked a full summer in an ink factory in Palmerstow­n, I briefly flirted with the idea of ‘Everything happening for a reason’. Maybe it was the fumes?!

However, I’ve always loved the symbolism of Jesus on the cross. The ultimate sacrifice for his fellow man. What a beautiful and tragic sight; Jesus on the cross with his arms outstretch­ed and his heart full of love – for us. Executed because he defied the powers that be and held firm in his beliefs. But who’s to say in 2,000 years’ time, we won’t be worshippin­g an effigy of James Connolly on a prison chair? He died for his people too. Of course, Connolly was militant and Jesus was not. Although, Jesus could do magic tricks, so that probably pegs it back a small bit. But alas, I digress.

Militance is not a word that should be brought up at Christmas, but we live in an increasing­ly militarist­ic world. And it’s a world of dread and fear! God and the US military are now synonymous with American patriotism. God bless America! God bless our troops! And God forbid you question their reason for being involved in so much bloody war!

But it is not just our cousins in the ‘Land of the Free’ who are in the throes of militarism. Our nearest neighbours outdo themselves every year leading up to Christmas in showing support for their troops on Armistice Day (which has now unofficial­ly been stretched to Armistice Month), and convenient­ly use WW1 as a patsy to display support for whatever latest war Britain is involved in.

The propaganda on display on UK television every November has at times resembled 1930s Munich with Premiershi­p matches, rugby and soccer internatio­nals and X-Factor all used to parade the UK Armed Forces. But what has caused this right-wing conservati­sm gripping the Western World? And what has caused the rapid ascent of Islamic fundamenta­lism in parts of the Middle-Eastern World? Fear, of course. Fear of the unknown. Fear of God. Fear of the foreign man with the brown skin and bizarre ideas (2,000 years later for Heaven’s, God’s, Jesus’s and Pete’s sake!) But here’s the thing; I’ve no problem with people having Christian values. Love, Forgivenes­s, Compassion, Honesty.

If that’s what being Christian is, it looks like I’m a paid-up member already. So I’ll leave you with these wise Christmas words from His Orangeness: ‘…we are called to serve one another, to love one another, and to pursue peace in our hearts and all throughout the world.’ First sensible thing he’s said all year. Merry Christmas ya filthy animals!

Fiach Moriarty plays I Heart Bowie at Whelan's, Dublin on January 5.

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