Behold! The Bridegroom Comes!

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

Fruit of the Papal Visit to the United Kingdom: The pope is invited to provide the Christmas message of the day:

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 See

The Senses of Christmas

Was Christmas Necessary?

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:

Rome is on high alert for terrorist activities.

In Iraq:
Difficult days for Christians

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

About Elizabeth Scalia
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  • Jeff

    Have a question. Fox News is running a special on the birth of Christ and the first “expert” trotted out is Crossan. He proceeded to say immediately that “we do not know who wrote Matthew, Mark, Luke and John’s gospels.”

    This is bunk, correct? He seems to have snookered Fox into believing that he is some kind of objective scripture expert, but as I recall he was a founding member of the “Jesus Seminar,” which concluded that Jesus didn’t say most of what the gospels have him saying.

  • http://whiterosebrian.deviantart.com Brian Cook

    I do wish that you hadn’t linked to Anthony’s article. I just looked at it and saw it as a broad-brushing screed demonizing anything and anyone remotely modern. I have the impression that even “far-left” activists are motivated by a well-meaning idea of empowering and protecting people, not destroying children. I have the impression that not every secular or modern person is a selfish money-maker, much hateful Bolsheviks.

    Nonetheless, I do thank you for linking to the Pope’s Thought for the Day. It is a much-needed message. Ms. Schalia, I wish you and your family a most blessed Christmas.

  • http://victor-undergo.blogspot.com/ Victor

    Hey Anchoress, Maybe I shouldn’t be writing this right now cause after a few months of doing without, I’m on my second beer now and all I’ve given my body cells since eight this morning is a few coffee but yes I can’t forget the banana that I snuck from my wife’s grocery basket. I’m not going to let some of my imagenary so called friends lead me on a tangent explaining that “IT” was for a few of Darwin’s cell. Period! Back to the topic.

    Jeff and you Anchoress after considerable debate might agree and say that “IT” really doesn’t matter what date Christmas falls on
    and/or when Jesus was born. The important thing is that He lived and died for all of U>S (usual sinners).

    I could go on and on telling you how I’ve convinced my wife to join me while I visit my parents old house and left a statue of our Mother The Virgin Mother Mary there and then also convinced her that we should visit my Mom and Dad’s Grave and then on our way home after walking through that deep snow to put a little tokin on their grave, I started coffing and literally seeing stars but instead I’m going to close by wishing You and all your readers a Very Happy Merry Christmas and then have another beer. But then again my wife is calling me and saying Victor, your dinner is getting cold!

    What would you do if you were me?

    I hear ya! Merry Christmas and good luck Victor cause we’ve also got a life to live you know!

    God Bless Peace.

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  • Joe C

    I like your new picture. Merry Christmas!

  • Beatrix

    I do too! Merry Christmas!

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    I have a newly adopted son, who is now fifteen months old, and I think the same thing quite often – Christ was once like this.

    Merry Christmas!

  • xavier

    Anchoress:

    I love the icon you posted. Where did you get it?

    xavier

  • jm

    I agree with Xavier aobut the awesome icon on this post. It is gorgeous. Where did you get it?

    Merry Christmas!

    JM

    [I'm not sure. I just googled "nativity icon" -admin]

  • newton

    When I saw that icon, I immediately remembered a picture my husband took of our then-hours-old daughter in her hospital crib, sleeping peacefully, while her mama was trying to catch some zz’s. It is humbling to know that every mom has a chance, however small, to bring forth into the world a little measure of hope in such a small bundle of cuteness…

    Fast-forward four years.

    My girl is a rebellious pre-schooler who doesn’t want to listen to her mother most of the time. I sometimes listen the things she speaks and I wonder, “where did she get that?”

    Mary had it easy…

    And yes, I do agree with extending it until January 6. That’s what we do here at home, anyway. Three Kings’ Day is a big deal where I grew up, so I’m not going to let my daughters miss that for the world.

    Aren’t there Twelve Days of Christmas, anyway?


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