Corroborative detail is the great corrective.
It is a disciplinarian.
It forces the historian who uses and respects it to cleave to the truth,
or as much as he can find out of the truth.
I am a disciple of the ounce, because I mistrust history in gallon jugs, whose purveyors are more concerned with establishing the meaning and purpose of history than with what happened.
Is it necessary to insist on a purpose?
The lilies of the field, as I remember, were not required to have a demonstrable purpose.
Why cannot history be studied and written and read for its own sake,as the record of human behavior, the most fascinating subject of all?
~ Barbara Tuchman
Reposted from 12/09/07, Some Advent history:
Originally Advent was a preparatory time somewhat like Lent- it’s liturgical colors of purple and violet calling up penance, fasting, and repentance. We have exchanged that for the often forced gaiety of prolonged Christmas celebrating. No wonder we get tired! I like downplaying the secular clamor and rush for as much quiet soul-preparing contemplation as possible, which is definitely not easy, going against the flow as it is.
It impresses me how relevant the Gospel of Christ is despite our best efforts to distort it. I think that the difficulty of depression and disappointment many have at Christmastime is due to the distortions of unmet expectations. This whole frantic jolliness is not in line with the Gospel or the Christmas story as it is recorded in the Bible, and it is very out of sync with how people really live.
It is not practical to expect that we will somehow go back to a penitent period of preparation for Christmas, and for many of us who have had a ‘born-again’ experience, we won’t look at Christmas as a time when we visit the “Christ Child” in some sort of time warp, but we will, and can approach Christmas with a little more solemnity and awe than the ubiquitous Santa’s and screaming ‘buy it all’ mentality would have it.
Continue reading Advent and Penance