Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, December 19, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 10


Mountain View News Saturday, December 19, 2020 



Sneakers is a 6-yr. old tuxedo boy. 
He is shy but sweet. He’s a big boy, 
a gentle giant, but will need time to 
get used to people. He gets afraid 
when he is picked up, but it can be 
done. He lived on the streets, mainly 
in a one block area. Everyone knew 
him and fed him and with at least 
one person he would go in that 
person’s house and hang out on the 
sofa, then later amble outside again. 
We think that if someone has a screened in porch or patio where he 
can have fresh air, birds to watch, etc., he would LOVE that. But watch out! He was rescued from the 
great outdoors, and that’s where he wants to be! He is an escape artist, and will try to “sneak” outside. He 
doesn’t realize that he would be in great danger! Sneakers really enjoys petting and being scratched--if he 
is on the same level with you, because if he’s on the floor and someone walks towards him, he runs away. 
That being said, you can get him back to you with FOOD! He gets along well with other cats, in fact he 
never once got aggressive or even assertive with smaller female cats. We don’t know about dogs. Sneakers 
is currently residing at The Cats Pajamas in Pasadena, where you can arrange a safe meeting after filling 
out the adoption application at Good news: Marley has been adopted.


[Nyerges is the author of A 
Personal Christmas Odyssey, 
and is the author of numerous 
books. For information about 
his books and classes, contact 
School of Self-reliance, Box 
41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041, 
or www.ChristopherNyerges.
com. . He participates in sharing 
the meanings of our Holidays at WTI’s local 
events – see ]

When I was in my early teens, I became aware 
of a fact that I was not taught in Catholic 
school. Jesus – in whose honor this holiday 
revolves – was a Jewish rabbi who lectured in 
the Synagogue and kept the traditional Jewish 
Holy Days of his time. We know the date of 
Jesus’ birthday is not known to historians, and 
was certainly not December 25. 

Using ordinary encyclopedias and the library, 
I began to uncover a side of Christmas that I 
never knew existed. First, I was a bit surprised 
to find that many people suggested that Jesus 
never existed at all, but they were searching 
for “Jesus Christ,” which is a combination of 
his Latinized name and a title. Rarely do these 
“researchers” understand that the given name 
would be Jeshua/Yeshua ben Josephus, or Jeshua 
ben Pandira, and sometimes Isai, and other 
variations in the language of that day. 

I learned that as Jesus was celebrating the Jewish 
Holy Days, the known world at that time 
was commemorating nearly every Holy Day 
that Christianity celebrates today, but under a 
different name. Holy Days of Christmas, Easter, 
Halloween, Saint Valentine’s Day, Candlemas, 
and more, were all being commemorated 
in the Roman empire. Though they were commemorated 
under different names, the customs 
associated with each are still with us.

By the Third Century as Christianity was becoming 
a religious and political force, Constantine 
made a political choice to cement his 
Christian empire. Since there was resistance 
to dropping the old so-called pagan customs, 
Constantine “Christianized” the entire gamut 
of pre-Christian Holy Days and changed their 
names. (This is, obviously, the very short 25-
cent version – you can read the long version in 
your encyclopedia.) The feast of Saturnalia was 
changed to the Mass of Christ, or Christmas.

By the way, “pagan” in its origin had no religious 
overtones. It merely meant a country-
dweller, from the Latin “pagus.” The complaint 
that the pagans in their observation of their 
Holy Days were riotous and drunken was only 
partly right. History clearly demonstrates that 
among the “pagani” there was no more or less 
drunken revelry than there was among those 
now calling themselves Christians.

 Though December 25 is not the winter solstice, 
it is the day when someone observing the sunrises 
notes that the sun begins again its northern 
ascent back from that southernmost point 
of the horizon that it reached on the winter solstice. 
It is the birth of the sun that that pagans 
celebrated, which Constantine made the birth 
of the Son. It is thus the day that modern Christians 
use to commemorate the birth of the one 
they refer to as the Son of God.

My first childhood reaction to learning of this 
“pagan history” of Christmas led to my disenchantment 
and depression. A few years later 
when I became a Buddhist, I was surprised 
to learn that my Buddhist friends celebrated 
Christmas. “It’s a social and secular holiday 
too,” they told me. “It’s part of the popular culture,” 
as they all had their warm parties and 
exchanged gifts in their eagerness to be a part 
of American culture. That opened my eyes to 
another side of this.


This season and its myriad symbols are ancient, 
yet it is still up to each of us to use these symbols, 
and this time, for a spiritual leap-forward, 
and not as an excuse to grovel in materialism. 
This year we have a great opportunity for going 
inward, and seeking the real meaning of 

Gifting, for example, can be a mindless act, or 
it can be a true communion between two beings. 
And gifting doesn’t have to be a physical 
object. It can be a service, some act of love, or 
even walking someone’s dog, or cooking a meal 
when they have the need. That’s the sort of gifting 
that I love to do with my closest friends. 
Of course, giving a special coin to someone in 
need is always appreciated!

The evergreens, the trees, the wreaths, the 
lights, all good symbols of spiritual renewal and 
eternal spiritual life. That’s what they’re there 
to remind us of.

Santa Claus is a latter day addition to the winter 
solstice time. Saint Nicholas was a real Catholic 
Bishop from Asia Minor who gave gifts to 
newlyweds around the Christmas season. The 
bland comic-book appearance of the modern 
“Santa Claus” has made him acceptable to 
today’s PCers as the “big man” of the winter 

The Christmas season’s ancient symbols are intended 
to remind us that even at our darkest 
moment, there is hope for us finding the light 
again. That is why solstices were commemorated 
in the first place. So in the Christian tradition, 
it was Jesus born in Bethlehem, who we 
barely understand, whose life demonstrated 
that there is a way to live, a way that each of us 
should follow, that can lead us out of our spiritual 
darkness. That is why we commemorate 
the birth of Jesus at this time. And that basic 
principle is why so many cultures – modern 
and ancient – have taken the time to make this 
time of the year very special.

Pet of the Week

Three-year-old Solange was found injured under a 
freeway overpass, and our veterinarians suspected she 
may have been hit by a car. She underwent surgery to 
repair her fractured femur, and since then has healed 
wonderfully and blossomed into such a sweet dog! Now 
that Solange has recovered, she has so much energy 
and loves to play. She’ll even toss her toys up in the air 
and catch them! Solange is friendly, intelligent, and 
affectionate – all she needs now is her perfect person.

 Solange is eligible for a 30-day adoption trial. Bring 
her home with all the supplies, get to know her, and at the end of 30 days, decide if 
you’d like to adopt. Email to get started with your 30-
day adoption trial.

 The adoption fee for dogs is $140. All dog adoptions include spay or neuter, microchip, 
and age-appropriate vaccines.

 New adopters will receive a complimentary health-and-wellness exam from VCA 
Animal Hospitals, as well as a goody bag filled with information about how to care 
for your pet.

 Pets may not be available for adoption and cannot be held for potential adopters by 
phone calls or email.

TABLE FOR TWO by Peter Dills


Fiction is sometimes better told then fact. The wine industry 
is no exception. I am told German draft-dodger Jacob Schram 
made camp in Calistoga in 1862 looking for a place to plant 
his vines. One hundred sixty years later “Schramsberg” is 
producing some of my all time favorite sparkling wines to 
this very day. Is it good enough for me? It certainly was for 
Richard Nixon. In 1972, Barbara Walters reported that then-
President Nixon and China’s premier Zhou Enlai toasted with 
it, and Schramsberg sparkling wine has been served at state 
functions by every president (and yes, in the Dills household) 
since then.

Sparkling wines are all blends and can be vintage, although 
the Schramsberg Blanc de Noir is a composition of grapes 
and regional combination. Blanc de Noir (meaning “white 
from black”) is 85% pinot noir and 15% chardonnay - thus 
the blend title - and that is just fine with this writer. With any 
“bubbles” yeast plays an important role in the fermentation 
role of the wine’s richness and body, making the wine crisp 
and low in tannins (The Monks found this out by accident). 
Many readers ask me about sparkling wine or champagne 
storage. I buy champagne to drink right away, but if you are 
able to purchase a six-pack to save a few dollars, that’s fine. 
This Schramsberg, if stored properly, in a nice cool place 
bottle on it’s side, it will be good for years to come, but why 
let it sit all alone when it should be enjoyed?

Yes, the holidays are here, and my research tells me that 
consumption of bubbles goes way up during the holidays. 
This is not a picnic sparkling wine - this is one of my favorites 
and I savor every zesty sip. Enjoy with a special friend, 
dinner, or a nice soft cheese. 

Closure: Corked

Dills Score: 91

Retail: $38 , Vons supermarket about $31. 

Each week I will give you my Dills Score. I have added points for value. I’m starting with a base of 50 
points; I added 8 points for color, 8 points for aroma or “nose”, 8 points for taste, 9 points for finish, and 8 
points for my overall impression, which includes my value rating.




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