Devil In The Detail


Every Christmas I buy an Advent calendar. It’s part of the Christmas tradition, along with advocaat snowball’s and carol concerts. This year I went for a calendar with a European winter landscape on the front. Called Winterwald, it contained snow-capped mountains, children playing in the snow and skating on a frozen pond amongst fir trees and an old wooden church. There was an old style magic and charm to it.

Every day I’d be eager to see the surprise hidden behind the numbered paper door, rushing into the living room in my Batman ™ pyjamas, squeeling with excitement at the site of a robin or snowman.

Day 22 was certainly a surprise. This little paper door was right on the side of the church and when I opened it there was a drawing of the devil!

Day 22 Advent Calendar

What did it mean? Had someone put it in as a joke? Was there a devil worshiper employed by Korsch-Verlag (the makers of the calendar)? It seemed strange, but knew there must be a sensible explanation behind it.

Maybe if I’d been a different sort of fly-off-the-handle person I could have got all angry about it and written a letter along these lines to the maker…

“Dear Sir or Madam,

I am disgusted, appalled and horrified by your use of Satanic images in a child’s Advent Calendar. Blah Blah Blah. Grumpy words. Harrumph! Hoohaa! Filthy… obscene… I’ve never been so….. In all my life…. I expect £XXXX for the distress this has caused me and my little Arthur…. More grumpitudiness…Failing this monetary remuneration, I will present this non- story to my MP, the BBC and my local newspaper who will pay me handsomely…. Yet more irate language and general blusteringness… Harumph (x2)…

Yours sincerely,

Lord Faltington Bishumgon of Fiddlebury”

But I’m not that sort of person.

Sometimes, you can fall into the trap of looking at something and not really see or understand what is going on. Sometimes you can add your own meaning to what you see, hear or read. It can be easy to misinterpret the information you’re presented with, when you don’t know the full background and context to it.You can take what you want and fill in the gaps with all manner of fiction.

It’s true of information too. It can be too easy to get half the picture and follow a route that leads down a wrong path, just because you’ve taken the first piece of information that comes to you and either haven’t understood it or taken it as gospel truth. One of the keys to making an informed decision is delving a bit deeper and making sure what you’re seeing, hearing or reading is right and then fill in any gaps before making a judgement.

Anyway, as it turns out, the image of the devil was far less sinister than a locally employed satanist playing a wicked joke. According to European folklore the devil is here at Christmas to seek out the bad children and deal with them as he sees fit!


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