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Happy Xmas Beers & Noodles 2008 Mate

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, The Festive Season Part 1 - Christmas 2008 Mate! Here I sit comfortably nestled away in the Xiangzimen Youth Hostel in Xian. Luo Wei is sleeping soundly back in the hotel room after a big dinner with her friends. Sneaky little bugger was supposed to be out partying until the wee hours but happily for me she surprised me with a gentle rap the door . I rose in fear that it was the cleaning lady who had come to force herself upon me and when I realised my mistake and that my Boxing Day virginity was safe, I broke the chains that separated my little squeeze and myself. Let's talk about Christmas presents. I'm sure we could all submit a list of strange Christmas presents we have received over the years but this year I got what doesn't really sound like a 'strange gift' until you actually sit and think about it. The first came when I was one hundred percent sure that the school had forgotten it was Christmas. I knew that the cities End of Year Dance was on the evening of Christmas Eve but no one had mentioned it to me. I only knew as I had seen several female teachers return to school still clad in their beautiful tight silk dresses during the day. I asked several students' whey they were dressed so. They told me that there was to be a dance performance that evening. Before I left the office I mentioned the silk dresses to the other English Teachers and they raced about trying to find out why the beauties were dressed so. I then hinted that I already knew and that I would love to attend the dance and happily I was promised that a ticket would be hunted down for me. Several hours later I got a call to come to the door and waiting for me were the schools leaders who wanted to present me with my Christmas present. And so came my strange present. I was handed a waist high pre-decorated Christmas tree. I know it doesn't sound strange like maybe a box of lego. Or maybe even porn flick or two from your girlfriend's mother. But isn't it beneath a Christmas tree where your presents are supposed to go? Aren't you generally supposed to buy the tree yourself and then spend a bit of time decorating it? Like in any culture that adopts another's festival, things are going to be missed and usually it will be an important part of the festival or celebration. Well, maybe not THE most important thing but the little things that make it what it is and has taken centuries to bring to life. Things like getting together as a family and hunting down a Christmas tree and then either making or buying the decorations and then on a certain date during the festival getting together as a family to decorate the tree. This you do together and you do it that way for all of your childhood. You then start a family of your own and pass it down from generation to generation. It is these important things that have been skipped here in China and the only thing you can do together as a couple or a family here is to go to the store and choose your pre-decorated tree because that's how it happens here. All trees come decorated and all you need to do is choose your colour! Talk about turning Japanese! So after three thousand, three hundred and thirty three photos of me and the Christmas tree we set off for a big diner with the School Leaders and some other 'names' from here and there and afar. The food was delicious, the company was awesome and the chatter non-stop like at all Chinese dinners no matter how big or small they are. After dinner we moved about twenty meters and were all soon sitting in the city hall. What was to follow was just as beautiful as all the past Dance Performances I have been to in China. The colour, the elegance, the moves. To me it's like being in a movie or even a dream. No matter how long I live here it will always be something that will come across dream like! After the performance I said my good byes to everyone and headed out for a walk about town. The city was a thrive of activity and the vibe was almost electric. Families were racing around with pre-decorated trees purchasing anything that flashed and glittered and if that couldn't be found then it only had to reflect light. Children of all ages (including myself at one stage) were chasing each other with cans of spray foam squealing with delight at the freedom and fun they were having. By this I mean, they had the evening off school. Usually they race home around 5:30pm for dinner They then have to be back in the classroom by 7:00pm There they stay until around 9:30 - 10:30pm, every night except Saturday night! Christmas day for me was spent in bed keeping warm until around two as there wasn't any heating. Finally when the heating arrived I rose to spend the rest of the day on my computer chatting to friends from here, there and everywhere on MSN, QQ and Skype. Such a sociable little bugger I can be at times! I spent Christmas night out on the town walking around again and took myself out for Chicken Burgers for my Christmas Dinner. When it comes to Christmas I'm not afraid to spend that little bit extra (hahahaha!) Anyhow, it's time to wrap this up as my Steak Sandwich has just arrived! Along with another cold stubbie of Jim Beam and Cola. Beers N Noodles toya.....shane PS: Over Christmas I received an email about the 'Origin' of the Twelve Days of Christmas' song from several people. I loved the whole idea behind it and decided I'd look into it and add a few more things. I was so happy to get these emails as they finally made sense of one of the most senseless and stupid songs I've ever heard. Some people say that it's all a load of rubbish and that it is just a normal Christmas Song. Maybe those who question it have never actually read the insane lyrics to this song! Maybe those who question it have also never tried to sing this crazy song. You seriously have a much better chance of singing a Slayer song. They also have some insane lyrics but at least they make sense! Call this a normal Christmas Song? Surely they can't have heard it! But now it all makes sense. Now they very much have the script for National Treasure Part III. But sadly because of me everyone now knows the ending. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus mate! Sheezus, I had to give it away didn't I! Heaven forbid!

PSS: There are a heap of photos at the end like usual _____________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by George Thorogood The album was the 'George Thorogood - Anthology' _____________________________________________ <u>The Origin of the Twelve Days of Christmas</u></b> You're all familiar with the Christmas song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas". To most people it's a strange yet delightful nonsense rhyme set to music. But supposedly it had a quite serious purpose when it was written. Some believe that it is a good deal more than just a repetitious melody with pretty phrases and a list of strange gifts. Catholics in England during the period 1558 to 1829, when Parliament finally emancipated Catholics in England, were prohibited from ANY practice of their faith by law - private OR public. It was a crime to be a Catholic. "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written in England as one of the "catechism songs" to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith - a memory aid, when to be caught with anything in writing indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could not only get you imprisoned, it could get you hanged, or shortened by a head. Or hanged, drawn and quartered. A rather peculiar and ghastly punishment! I'm not aware was ever practiced anywhere else. Hanging, drawing and quartering involved hanging a person by the neck until they had almost, but not quite, suffocated to death; then the party was taken down from the gallows, and disemboweled while still alive; and while the entrails were still lying on the street, where the executioners stomped all over them, the victim was tied to four large farm horses, and literally torn into five parts - one to each limb and the remaining torso. The songs gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, much in memory of the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so..." The Twelve Days of Christmas is probably the most misunderstood part of the church year among Christians who are not part of liturgical church traditions. Contrary to much popular belief, these are not the twelve days before Christmas, but in most of the Western Church are the twelve days from Christmas until the beginning of Epiphany (January 6th; the 12 days count from December 25th until January 5th). In some traditions, the first day of Christmas begins on the evening of December 25th with the following day considered the First Day of Christmas (December 26th). In these traditions, the twelve days begin December 26 and include Epiphany on January 6. The origin and counting of the Twelve Days is complicated, and is related to differences in calendars, church traditions, and ways to observe this holy day in various cultures (see Christmas). In the Western church, Epiphany is usually celebrated as the time the Wise Men or Magi arrived to present gifts to the young Jesus (Matt. 2:1-12). Traditionally there were three Magi, probably from the fact of three gifts, even though the biblical narrative never says how many Magi came. In some cultures, especially Hispanic and Latin American culture, January 6th is observed as Three Kings Day, or simply the Day of the Kings (Span: la Fiesta de Reyes, el Dia de los Tres Reyes, or el Dia de los Reyes Magos; Dutch: Driekoningendag). Even though December 25th is celebrated as Christmas in these cultures, January 6th is often the day for giving gifts. In some places it is traditional to give Christmas gifts for each of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Since Eastern Orthodox traditions use a different religious calendar, they celebrate Christmas on January 7th and observe Epiphany or Theophany on January 19th. By the 16th century, some European and Scandinavian cultures had combined the Twelve Days of Christmas with (sometimes pagan) festivals celebrating the changing of the year. These were usually associated with driving away evil spirits for the start of the new year. The Twelfth Night is January 5th, the last day of the Christmas Season before Epiphany (January 6th). In some church traditions, January 5th is considered the eleventh Day of Christmas, while the evening of January 5th is still counted as the Twelfth Night, the beginning of the Twelfth day of Christmas the following day. Twelfth Night often included feasting along with the removal of Christmas decorations. French and English celebrations of Twelfth Night included a King's Cake, remembering the visit of the Three Magi, and ale or wine (a King's Cake is part of the observance of Mardi Gras in French Catholic culture of the Southern USA). In some cultures, the King's Cake was part of the celebration of the day of Epiphany. It is certainly possible, in fact probable, that this view of the song is legendary or anecdotal. Without corroboration and in the absence of "substantive evidence," we probably should not take rigid positions on either side and turn the song into a crusade for personal opinions. That would do more to violate the spirit of Christmas than the song is worth. So, for the sake of historical accuracy, we need to acknowledge the likelihood that the song had secular origins. However, on another level, this should not prevent us from using the song in celebration of Christmas. Many of the symbols of Christianity were not originally religious, including even the present date of Christmas, but were appropriated from contemporary culture by the Christian Faith as vehicles of worship and proclamation. <u>On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me... </u>A Partridge in a Pear Tree</b></b> The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . ." (Luke 13:34) <u>On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me... </u>Two Turtle Doves </b></b>The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God's self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world. <u>On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me... </u>Three French Hens</b></b> The Three Theological Virtues: 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13) <u>On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...</u></b> Four Calling Birds</b> The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God's reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ. <u>On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... </u>Five Gold Rings</b></b> The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch: 1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity's sinful failure and God's response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world. <u>On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... </u>Six Geese A-laying</b></b> The six days of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1). <u>On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...</u></b> Seven Swans A-swimming</b> The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11) <u>On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... </u>Eight Maids A-milking</b></b> The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. (Matthew 5:3-10) <u>On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... </u>Nine Ladies Dancing</b></b> The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit: 1) love, 2) joy, 3) peace, 4) patience, 5) kindness, 6) generosity, 7) faithfulness, 8) gentleness, and 9) self-control. (Galatians 5:22) <u>On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... </u>Ten Lords A-leaping</b></b> The ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God's name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17) <u>On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...</u> Eleven Pipers Piping</b></b> The eleven Faithful Apostles: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James. (Luke 6:14-16). The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders and the Romans. <u>On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... </u>Twelve Drummers Drumming</b></b> The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles' Creed: 1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave]. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the holy catholic Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting. <u>Epiphany, January 6 </u>An Epiphany Devotional</b></b> Perhaps, when all is said and done, historical accuracy is not really the point. Perhaps more important is that Christians can celebrate their rich heritage, and God's grace, through one more avenue this Christmas. Now, when they hear what they once thought was only a secular "nonsense song," they will be reminded in one more way of the grace of God working in transforming ways in their lives and in our world. After all, is that not the meaning of Christmas anyway?

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate


Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Happy Christmas 2008 Mate

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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