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  • Writer's pictureMark

Gazing Balls

There’s a tendency to follow others. I saw it in the ornaments people chose to put up for Christmas. Some of them are year-round decorations, like the projections aimed at your house. The light show can be changed to suit the holiday - ghosts and witches for Halloween, clovers, fireworks, snowflakes, whatever is the homeowner’s choice.

Back in the 1970s (I think) people were putting “gazing balls” in their front yard. More recently there were icicle lights, and for the first time this past season I saw two homes with purple icicle lights where it looked like the ice was . . . I don’t know, maybe “dripping” is the right word. I have no doubt Christmas 2021 will have half the houses in my region with those purple things.

I kind of liked the two “purple ice” displays I saw, but when every house for miles around has ‘em, I get turned off about it. There’s too much of a herd mentality going on for me to be comfortable.

Maybe that’s why I don’t go all-out in decorating. Then again, it could be I tend toward lazy. Could be a combination of both.

The bible talks about humanity as sheep. It’s not a compliment, either, despite the cute and fuzzy appearance of the animal. Sheep are one of the few animals so dumb they literally cannot survive without human intervention. They’ll eat things which are poisonous, refuse to drink from a running stream despite dying of dehydration, when they fall over they can’t even get themselves back on their feet. And God talks about us as sheep that have gone astray.

One of the best examples of ancient Israel going astray is in Samuel. They said, “We want a king. You know, like all the other nations.” In essence, they were saying, “Hey, all the other houses have gazing balls. We want one too!”

My understanding is that the leader of a nation determines which god that nation will follow. The pharaoh named Akhenaten, for instance, wanted to wipe out all the previous gods in Egypt in favor of worshiping the sun-disc named Aten - hence his name, which meant “Effective for the Aten.”

So ancient Israel, which was supposed to be lead by God, told God, “Go pound sand. We want a human king like every other nation.” Then they picked a guy who looked every inch like a “regular” king.

And he took the nation and pushed them so far outside of God’s will that they were exactly like all the other nations - places where the leader determined who was god. That carried over through the next few centuries.

Even David, who followed God’s will better than pretty much anyone, was still just the guy in charge who told Israel which god to follow. As soon as Solomon was king and started following other gods, the people followed him. When the nation split, the kings still decided who the national god was. When Judah was conquered by Babylon, THEN the nation kinda got the hint that human kings weren’t everything they were cracked up to be.

That’s when the Hebrews decided gazing balls weren’t the highest form of Christmas decoration. They kind of united under the assumption that God was . . . well, God. All the rest were just icicle light fads.

So here we are today in 2021. We threw off the king of England because he had one set of rules for himself and his cronies, and another set of rules for the rest of the scum in his empire. That didn’t sit well with the folks in what’s now America. We wanted a single set of rules and laws everyone had to abide by. But we barely managed to go a couple of centuries before we ended up with the Golden Rule: them with the gold makes the rules, and they don’t have to follow them.

This isn’t a Left or Right issue. The Founding Fathers, for the most part, acknowledged there was a Higher Power (God) from whom we get our rights. We, like sheep, have gone astray. The people in power, overtly or not, are rejecting the concept that God is the one who leads us. They’ve reverted back to the idea that the laws don’t apply to them, because they’re better than the rest.

In other words, we have rulers just like all the other nations.

Will the people follow like sheep and all buy gazing balls?

Time will tell.

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