Anthony Esolen: Putting the Christmas back in Christ
Today at a local diner I saw a small child, a handsome blond boy of about six years old, playing a funny game with his grandfather and grandmother, wide-eyed and smiling. And I thought, “Jesus was once like that.” But as soon as we see that — as soon as we put the Christmas back in Christ, and see all children as made blessed by Christ’s having become a little child — it seems incomprehensible, even criminal, what we do to these children. “Sing of Jesus,” says the hymn, “pure and holy, in the home at Nazareth.” Imagine Him there, with Mary at the washing, or kneading yeast into some measures of flour, while Joseph works and smoothes a beam of wood with a chisel and plane. Imagine this toil and labor, and this quiet innocence and love.
Now take an hour’s slice of time from the life of a child today. Imagine a teacher, often enough working behind the backs of the parents, instructing the boy Jesus on the proper use of a prophylactic. Imagine Mary aiming the clicker at the television screen, to watch an episode of . . . the reader may here fill in the blank. Imagine the boy, not exposed to the daily round of selfishness and sin that can be found anywhere, at any time, but to a systematic and universal barrage of sleaze, hatred of one’s forebears, disdain for God, and the snide and self-serving ideal of “success” in a narcissistic world.
You can listen to me read the Nativity narrative from the Gospel of Luke, here
God is always faithful to his promises, but he often surprises us in the way he fulfils them. The child that was born in Bethlehem did indeed bring liberation, but not only for the people of that time and place – he was to be the Saviour of all people throughout the world and throughout history. And it was not a political liberation that he brought, achieved through military means: rather, Christ destroyed death for ever and restored life by means of his shameful death on the Cross.
Dr. Pat McNamara looks at a Christmas sermon from 1904:
And why is He with us? Why is He in our midst? And if, in His great love for mankind, He must needs become one of us, why does He come in such a guise? Why is the Omnipotent swathed in bands? Why is the Eternal Wisdom speechless? Why does He come in the character of a very outcast from the society of men, fain to borrow from the brute beasts themselves their stall for His palace and their manger for His royal bed of state? Ah! brethren, we know well why He came. The reason is told in that other name of His which was given Him at the bidding of the Angel. “Thou shalt call His name Jesus.” The name Jesus means “Saviour,” or more correctly, “God our Saviour.”
Joseph Susanka looks at It’s a Wonderful Life and wonders if we aren’t better off left wondering
Terry Teachout on film: Hollywood Knows him Not; Christmas Movies You Want to SeeThe Senses of Christmas
Funneeee! Interview with the Nativity Innkeeper
Joe comes in and asks for a room, and I tell him we’re all out of rooms and have been for months. Foot races. Theater groupies. And such. And he says, come on, please. I’ve got a pregnant lady with me. And I say, you hear that down the hall? I’m full up with pregnant ladies. And he says, this baby is important. And I say, hey, buddy, I don’t care if he’s the Son of God, I don’t have any rooms.
Nunspeak: A Christmas Podcast
This Christmas in the world:
In Egypt, the Coptic Christians deal with institutional prejudice
Some unhappy reaction in UK: to Benedict’s Thought of the Day
A feel-good story about those Santa letters. These two guys seemed lovely about what they tried to do, but I wonder if they shouldn’t have taken the letters to a few local churches, for some help. And I can’t help but think that there are too many material expectations being placed on all of us, at Christmas and really all year long.
In America some Christians are thinking “away with Santa!”, while others say “that needn’t be!”. Me, I’m all for using Advent wisely, and putting Christmas back to Dec.15-January 6. Perhaps if Christmas did not seem to begin on November 1, and we set our hearts to better calendars than the ones used by Madison Avenue, there would not be all of this unrest!
Midnight Mass: What time is midnight?
Msgr. Charles Pope: Touched by God at Christmas
Ed Morrissey: the Indispensable Christmas Carols
Bing and Bowie: how they got together