I spent the afternoon with some of the family and we were bound by love to Christmastide. This was a community of Holiday.
Christmas is Love, not Opposition to Evil
A great-grandfather once described a man as “so straight he leans a little.” This is the man who knows what he opposes, knows what is wrong with the world, and is motivated by his animus. Few will admit to fear, disdain, or hate which energizes their work, because the wrongness is obvious.
Herod feared for his position and as capable ruler became a tyrant. Mother Mary loved God and bore Emmanuel, God with us. When casting the Christmas pageant of our times, we aspire to be like Mary, or at least a shepherd. The evils of the age can scar us, make us afraid, and if we do not end up Herod, we can become like the locals who abetted his rise and abuse of power.
He built us a new Temple after all. He is better than a Roman procurator, right? He is sort-of one of us? The role of the Sadducee, the sycophant to power, is available. God spare us.
Many, right and left, despise the sellouts. They hate the tyrant. They are full of holy zeal. Such men can become Zealots preaching revolution and bringing bloody doom and destruction on the beloved community. More subtle is the temptation of the “Pharisee”* that is correct in his dislike of obvious evils but monomaniacal in solutions. This sort of person will explain everything by their pet idea or solution.
Mary and Joseph stood over the manger and defeated Herod, Augustus Caesar, the sell outs, and the rigid, but did not think of them at all.
Christmas Creates the Community of the Holiday
Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, animals, and eventually the wisemen were bound by the vision of Bethlehem. They came to a holiday: holy jollification. The vision is Beatific, but also includes our jolly little party with KFC, pizza, and treats. We can read poetry, watch movies, and discuss family lore. Our oral history looked backward, but our discussion on the Eighth Day also was forward thinking.
This is meet and right to do on the Eighth Day: a day symbolizing the eternal day after Creation. In seven days God created the Heavens and Earth, but His renewed community, the City of God, lives forever in the Eighth Day. The Holiday Community is connected to all who have come before us who join us in looking for eternal love. Bethlehem was the birthplace of King David. The Holiday Community moves forward into eternity in safety for all time by the intercession of the Theotokos.
The small party, the little jollity, is a beauty for earthly use. We cannot command that God vouchsafe us a vision of the Grail, but we can sing a carol, warm our hearts with a Tom and Jerry, put off fireworks with dear friends and so see all the good that we can.
If this community stands in opposition to the tyrants, this is accidental. The tyrant has made himself to be in opposition to holiness, the justice of God. He could, like Scrooge, turn to Christmastide, but he will not do so. The community of holiday always waits to welcome even him to Christmas. No soul need be lost if they will consent to Love.
Those who gaze on the manger are awash in love and have no time to hate anyone. If we must be exiled to Egypt, then this too will be good and beautiful.
*The sect was complex with strains that were noble!