There is a thread going on another Forum (for UK Human Resources professionals) as to whether, in our present-day multicultural, multi-faith Society, it's potentially-offensive even to wish someone 'Happy Christmas'
IMHO, absolute nonsense !
John Betjeman was a former UK Poet Laureate and a contemporary of Eliot; even in the mid-20th Century, he bemoaned the 'modern Paganism' that he saw as having largely supplanted Christian Tradition since long-ago Pagan Times. He wrote this, about Christmas:-
Christmas by John Betjeman
The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hookers Green.

The holly in the windy hedge
And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that the villagers can say
'The church looks nice' on Christmas Day.

Provincial Public Houses blaze,
Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze,
Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says 'Merry Christmas to you all'.

And London shops on Christmas Eve
Are strung with silver bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.

And girls in slacks remember Dad,
And oafish louts remember Mum,
And sleepless children's hearts are glad.
And Christmas-morning bells say 'Come!'
Even to shining ones who dwell
Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.

And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass window's hue,
A Baby in an ox's stall ?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me ?

And is it true ? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet and silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant,

No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare -
That God was man in Palestine
And lives today in Bread and Wine.
Not long ago, a colleague severely reprimanded me for using the term 'Christian Name' . The reason for this, I discovered later, was that she was Pagan by chosen faith (a White Witch!). But, I'm not, and the UK is still nominally a Christian (Anglican) country: she's entirely welcome to her own beliefs, but, if she chooses to live in the UK, I think she should have exhibited rather greater tolerance about the predominant culture in general and mine in particular.
That said, Betjeman's words of faith (like many of Eliot's, too) do seem somewhat anachronistic and dogmatic to present-day, secular tastes.
But, are they any less valid now than they were then? - some would say more valid.....
All Best

On 26 December 2012 13:04, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
You can get it here, hopefully, Peter -- it is picture number 34.

Or you could google "christmas around the world slideshow".


P <[log in to unmask]> wrote: 

This address doesn't work for me CR.

Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

One of the best poems I've read in a long time, Eugene -- I'm touched. 

Here's something I came upon at random.

a happy holiday image

Ah, "where is the penny world I bought /  To eat with Pipit behind the screen?"


Nancy et al,
I hope that you enjoy this poem based upon Eliot's poem based upon the sermon delivered on Christmas Day 1622; and honoring Valerie Eliot.
Happy Holidays to all on this list!
Eugene Schlanger
A Poet’s Wife
(for Valerie Eliot 1926-2012)
Valerie Eliot has just died.
It is said that when she first heard
John Gielgud recite the Journey of the Magi
She instinctively knew
What she wanted to do
And what to do.
Imagine if in our self-important world
You were told that someone
Fell in love with life’s purpose
Upon hearing a poem; odder still,
A poem that recounts an arduous journey
Towards an unlikely birth centuries ago.
Odd?  Uncommon?  Or
In the England between the wars
Was there still some lingering presence
Of that past in the present before
The dismal future that always
Portends another end?
Perhaps the Magi saw all that and more—
In the caravan, in the small town,
Among those playing dice and
Among those wanting women—
And now, centuries later,
As winter sets upon us again,
I see and hear once more,
Melancholic yet magnanimous,
Among carpenters and plumbers,
Christians and Jews, in Brooklyn,
The borough of churches,
That same desire for direction.