Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas always reminds me why I love Christianity, even though I'm not a very orthodox Christian anymore. It's been stretched out of shape by fundamentalists and literalists and big-money evangelists, but if you can get a fresh perspective on it every once in awhile, there's still so much there-- and Christmas is the best example, in my opinion. The story of God, the big guy with the infinite cosmic power, deciding to make his grand appearance on earth in the form of a baby (a BABY!!) is such a wonderfully bizarre concept that you just can't help but appreciate it. I'm not even talking about taking the story literally, it's the concept I love, even if you just read it as a myth.

In an age where we are being told on a daily basis that the answer to the world's problems is more military might, bigger armies, more guns, and so on, here is solution of the Christmas story: a tiny, helpless, vulnerable baby, born to an unwed mother from a poor, politically oppressed people. We've heard the story so many times that it's hard to remember how strange that is, how utterly confounding.

I can already hear somebody saying: but miraculous birth stories are a common historical occurence for that time period, and yes I do know that. but as the introductory story of the Christian scriptures, it makes for a thought-provoking start-- even if, maybe especially if, you don't take it literally. Even as a child, it was the most meaningful part of christianity to me, far more so than the crucifixion and resurrection.

...the world in solemn stillness lay / to hear the angels sing....

Aunt BeaN

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