Sunday, November 6, 2016

November 6: Decorating My Christmas Tree, Guardian Angel, Classic Saint Marty

I just finished decorating my Christmas tree.  That's right, I've already started decorating for Christmas.  Actually, I started last night.  I put up the tree and draped it with lights.  Tonight, I put on the ornaments, with the help of my wife and kids.

On top of our tree this year is our angel.  We alternate between a star, a Santa, and an angel every year.  I chose the angel because of the current presidential election taking place in the United States.  Our angel is dark-skinned and a woman.  She would never make it to the top of Donald Trump's Christmas tree.  I like to think of her as a guardian angel, watching over us, making sure that a racist asshole doesn't get elected as President of the United States this Tuesday.

That's what I give thanks for tonight:  Christmas trees and guardian angels.

Today's episode of Classic Saint Marty first aired four years ago, on another presidential election day.  Mitt Romney versus Barack Obama.  We all know what the outcome of that one was.  Let's hope for a similar result this time.

November 6, 2012:  Many Thousands, Saint Martin of Tours, Saint of the Week

"At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge," said the gentleman, taking up a pen, "it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time.  Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, Sir."

The gentleman speaking to Scrooge here is attempting to obtain a charitable contribution from him.  Of course, at this point in the novel, Scrooge rejects him flatly, even mocks him.  At the end of his sojourn in the spirit world, Scrooge is singing a different carol, though.  He meets this gentleman in the street on Christmas morning and makes a monetary pledge that leaves the gentleman speechless.  That is the greatest miracle of this book:  a man's stingy heart is opened, and he sees Christ in the poor and destitute of the world.

That is the story of my saint of the week, as well.  This week, my saint happens to be another Saint Marty--Saint Martin of Tours.  Martin of Tours is the saint I was named for.  His feast day is November 11, and he is the patron saint of beggars and soldiers.  The story behind this patronage is remarkable.

When Martin was a young Roman soldier in France, he met a beggar at the gates to the city of Amiens.  The beggar was naked and freezing.  Without thinking, Martin cut his military cloak in half and shared it with the beggar.  That night, as he slept, Martin had a vision of Christ wearing the half-cloak he had given away.  Jesus was telling the heavenly host of angels, "Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is not baptized; he has clad me."  When Martin woke up, his cloak was whole again.  (The details of this story come from Wikipedia.)

That is why I love Martin of Tours.  He is a saint who feeds and clothes the poor.  He is a saint who recognizes Christ in everyone.  Martin could be one of Dickens' Ghosts of Christmas.  The message of Martin's story pretty much coincides with the message of any one of those yuletide Spirits--Past, Present, or Future.  Take care of all the Tiny Tims of the world, and you will be blessed.  Ebenezer Scrooge learned that lesson.  Martin of Tours learned that lesson.

As I head out to vote today, I am going to keep that lesson in mind, as well.  Who is going to hoard his wealth, make the rich even richer and the poor even poorer?  And who is going to share his cloak, take care of all of the Christs, no matter how sick or dirty or impoverished?

Saint Marty thinks he knows the answer to that question.

I'm voting for Saint Martin of Tours


  1. I think most of us are ready to focus on a season of lights and music that focuses on kindness and giving.

  2. I agree. Lights and music. Maybe some cookies, too.