Sunday, December 15, 2013

Jesus was mauve --- honest

Even though it's the wrong color, I was really happy to find this image of Jesus parked on a rock, presumably in the Garden of Gethsemane. That's supposed to be Jerusalem in the distance.

There are a few problems here. One is geographic --- the garden was at the foot of the Mount of Olives, not atop it. But the biggie is the fact that Jesus was mauve, not white.

Or at least he was in the duotone version of this, more finely drawn, that I grew up with --- a wedding gift from kind-hearted folks to my parents that was displayed as long as they were able to come to Sunday dinner, then retired to the store room after they passed. No idea what my mother finally did with it.

But you can understand why I might logically have grown up thinking Jesus was a moderate shade of purple.

This came to mind last week when Fox television news host Megyn Kelly, herself an alarming shade of white, declared that Jesus was, too --- and Santa Claus as well. Scorn followed; then Kelly declared that her tongue had been planted firmly in her cheek when she said these things.

Those who obsess about the historical Jesus --- and the historical St. Nicholas of Myra, too --- generally conclude that both most likely were brown-skinned, not white: Eligible for additional security screening should either have decided to board a westbound flight.

Jesus may have been kind of an ugly sucker, too. The only Biblical reference to his appearance, and that in prophetic form, is found in the book of Isaiah: "For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him."

The Christmas wars seem a little subdued this year, disappointing to those of us who enjoy drama. About the only other excitement during the week involved a Festivus pole made of PVC pipe and beer cans at the Florida state capitol.

Personally, I'm still observing Advent --- and this is the third Sunday thereof: Gaudete, from the Latin for "Rejoice," the first word of the traditional introit for today's Mass. If you're a purist, this is the Sunday to light the pink candle in your Advent wreath; maybe wear a little pink, too.

Here's a medley of two Advent favorites played on a hammered dulcimer to get your Gaudete Sunday off to an appropriate start.

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