Sunday, 9 December 2007

Reclaiming Advent culture

Do you remember the days before "Harry Potter and the clinting crag", "Shrek", or "Golden Compass", when sotries would be read aloud to amusable and expectant children. There are two book which come to my mind as exceptional stories for this time before Christmas.

The first is "Bill Badger's Winter Cruise" by "BB". It is a tale of how badger and his friend Izzy Bizzy, a hedgehog, go down the canal on a barge in deep winter. They share together many of the simple experiences which you and I cherish during Advent - hope, expectancy, friendship and generosity.

The second is "Little Grey Rabbit's Christmas" by Alison Utley. This is probably my favorite children's (or adult's) book. It is the story of how a family of rabbits prepare their home, and by way of that, themselves, for Christmas. Such a story as this is set to help create just the kind of atmosphere in a family that you would wish for in Advent. One in which there is a simple but genuine joy and expectancy because a great Feast is approaching.
These books come from a less self-consciousness age and we have much to regain in this respect. May they take their place again in our lives and the lives of our children.


bernadette said...

"Mum, can we go and see the Golden Compass"

"No, lets read Peter Rabbit's Christmas " instead. Over some Ovaltine.

The row which then follows, naturally leads to the de-myst
ifying of the mysterious "Magisterisum".(might as well cut to the chase - Phillip Pullman's agenda is, explicitly, to denounce the Catholic Church and any form of revealed truth, and to embitter as many young readers as poss.)

"His Dark Materials" is a nightmare for anyone with one ounce of discernment. It is a beautifully written eulogy to utter atheism, nihilism, totalitarianism.

Drink thy poison thyself, as St Benedict might have said....

You wouldn`t EAT something contaminated with Salmonella, would you > so why read this seductive evil ? Peter Rabbit certainly isn't the answer either.... much as I would like it to be. Solid explanation of why Phillip Pullman is twisted and evil, is. Our faith is gritty, Fr Richard, not pretty.

Fr Richard Aladics said...

"Little Grey Rabbit" isn't the answer to anything. Christ is. However, there is a genre of children's tales which is worth hanging on to for its literary, artistic and cultural value. I'm just reminding people of some of these books because society today tends not to.

bernadette said...

Quite. It`s just that the conversation with my children did not include the words "I know, let`s watch Little Grey/Peter Rabbit instead". If we believe that Jeuss came to stand AGAINST some things and not necessarily to build bridges TO them, then, we have to stand in the battle. Being Jesus in today's culture is more than retreating into the 1930's, purely in my own experience. But I Could be very, VERY wrong. I want to see and encourage some young Catholic script/screen-writers to come up with stuff to counter Mr Pullman. You never know.... hope and all that ......