Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas via My Brain

Wahoo! It's Friday! I know that this typically means nothing to me since my 'forced retirement' when we moved here in March, but it does mean something for Branden! Finally after weeks and weeks of him sitting at the desk, looking totally sexy and taunting me with his wavy hair and good style typing out the first chapter of his PhD he turned it in this afternoon, which means he can pay more attention to me relax and be done with school for a while! Of course he still has work and he will be working more over Christmas as most of his co-workers are taking time off and he's covering for them, but at least his mind can be a bit more at ease and he'll stop using such big words all the time.

He had me edit his chapter yesterday. Considering that my most exciting read in the past few months has been Wind in the Willows, I decided that I should get my thinking cap out. It took a bit of searching, but when I finally found it, it was half buried in dust, some mice had chewed some holes in it, and I'm pretty sure it shrunk. After 3 hours of praying that there were no spiders in the cobwebs, I plucked up the courage to put it on and start editing...all 21 pages...

Talk about a killjoy! Currently he's writing about representations of the Virgin Mary in the Nativity scene in late medieval Ireland, and considering the time of year it is, reading this sucked a bit of magic out of the season! Now I won't be able to sing "Away in a Manger" because when I get to the part where we sing, "...but little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes..." I will just be thinking, "The Biblical account gives no detail to how Jesus was as a baby but because a Franciscan monk back in 1300 or something, decided that the Son of God would not be a baby who cried, we have stuck this idea into our Christmas carols!". Sure it's a nice idea that Jesus slept through the night and never cried but how would he have notified the mortals around him that he had pooped? Did the Franciscan monks consider a crying baby to be unholy but a pooping baby was totally fine?

And don't even get me started on Mary breastfeeding! Branden has a huge section on that because there were a lot of depictions of Mary breastfeeding baby Jesus and some of them are quite hysterical!

I suppose now that I know the meaning and significance behind this type of image I can't laugh as much, but the first time I saw images like this in Branden's text books, I was giggling like a hyena! Basically, the "simplified Maggie version" is that back in medieval times, breast milk was considered to be white blood. So Mary was giving her blood to Jesus by breastfeeding him and thus when he died and shed his blood for all of humanity, Mary's blood was part of that, thus making her a key role to salvation in the church at that time. Images, like the one above, show her milk to have healing powers and to be sacred, as Jesus's blood was considered.

Ok, now that you have all learned something for today (some of you should probably wake up now and stop drooling on your keyboards), I can basically sum up my frustration in that most all of our Nativity scenes and ideas of how the Christmas story went came from late medieval monks. Now that I have read where they actually came up with their ideas and philosophies, I am forever ruined. Ignorance really is bliss!

Oh, and on a side note, Branden will also be looking at representations of Mary at the foot of the cross so now my Easter will be ruined as well!


  1. Haha! I'm glad you finally found your thinking cap! Also, that explanation of Mary makes the Catholic Church's worship of Mary make a little more sense. Woot knowledge!

  2. I've always been confused by representations of Jesus in the paintings by the old masters. They show Jesus as a baby in Mary's arms, but He doesn't look like a baby--He looks like a very small man. (No babylike face or body.) He's depicted--in my eyes-- as a "little person".

    Of course, I'm confused by a lot of things....

  3. I'd offer to edit it for him, but...

    Sorry. I fell asleep.

    I kid, I kid. ;^)

  4. yeah, im one of those people who take off around this time, too. so maybe your man will be covering for ME, too! this is my last day of work for the year! woo hoo!

  5. Lisa, this idea in the medieval times did lead to Mary worship but it's not a common thing held in the Catholic church today. This was also before the Reformation so it's part of the Catholic and Protestant's history. I think I will be throwing out my thinking cap after may be broken (or rotting!) ;)

    Fishducky, hahaha, Branden and I agree! It is weird how he seems to always have a little man face! Branden thinks it may be the artist's way to give an image of a man's intelligence in a baby's body...again, weird!

    Joshua, I actually had to break the pages up in sections and read blogs in between them. I was getting a bit sleepy... ;)

    Slyde, I hope you are celebrating the rest of the year!! Enjoy your time off and thanks for stopping by my place :)

  6. LOL! Melynda and I have been having a heated debate about the Virgin Mary. I think she experienced no pain during childbirth while Melynda thinks it was even worse than normal. I think we need to make a vlog and have everyone vote. Sooo hilarious :)

  7. Elisa, hahahaha! Actually that was part of Branden's paper as well. It's another idea that was come up with by the Monks at that time. My vote is that if he came as a true human, then sadly, there would be pain...lots of pain!! lol

  8. I'm actually laughing. I must have a fever and be delirious because I haven't felt like laughing for several hours.


  9. Wow that is some crazy research... I mean how did they get a camera back to that manger and film the breast feeding and everything.... thats some CSI style good research!!!!!

  10. Lola, I hope you don't have a fever but I'm glad you are laughing ;)

    Steve, I think the shepherds used their iPhones to film it ;)

  11. Sounds like you husband is very much a realist Maggie? - Dave

  12. Dave, hahaha, actually he isn't! He loves fantasy, mythology, and legends but he does like to find what truth can be found in them. His family is a big believer is Big Foot which I like to tease him about ;)

  13. Baha! I seriously laughed so hard at the picture of mary breastfeeding jesus!

  14. You kinda lost me at Virgin Mary. Now that shouldn't have happened since I went to Catholic school & my name is Mary.
    Wait. Maybe that's why it did happen.
    Nevermind. ~Mary


Does this straitjacket make my butt look big?