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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Thursday, December 22, 2005
    Let that Homer shine
    Coming home tonight through an estate glowing with gaudy outdoor decorations, of households which can barely afford it setting their electric meters spinning like crazy to light up the neighbours homes opposite, with all manner of chintzy illuminations making the damp streets sparkle - coming home through all that my eyes rested on one particularly garish sight: an enormous inflated Homer Simpson, hoisted on the front of one family's home, lit up and dressed as Santa. Involuntarily, I laughed out loud at the madness of this, the wonderful incongruousness, the joyous ludicrousness of this statement in bright red and yellow heavy-duty nylon. And at that moment I became reconciled to secular, materialistic Christmas. Bring it on!

    I shall not complain that all these lights bear no relation the True Light Who Has Come Into The World. That's a worn-out given, a sermon we've heard a zillion times. I think these lights might just be saying something very valid. If you don't know The Story but you're willing to be loving angels instead; if you're of modest means but have a sneaking Mary-like intuition that there's something afoot in the world which seeks to knock down the pompous and puffed-up and pious and to elevate the chintzy, if you have an instinct that there is a place for celebration in an otherwise dispirited world, then what better way to express yourself than to tie a fifteen-foot high Homer to your home at the darkest, grimmest time of year, switch the crazy light show on and let that commonplace charlie, that ordinary joe, that wondrously banal anti-King, SHINE.