Monday, December 24, 2012

It Came upon a Midnight Clear

Six years ago, I wrote a post about Christmas and why it is important to me, and since I pretty much said what I wanted to say back then, I've never done another one.  But I re-read it last week and realized that, slightly updated, it is worth repeating.  So here it is.  Happy Christmas/Festivus/Solstice/Hannukkah/Kwanzaa or whatever you choose to celebrate.

Christmas always reminds me why I love Christianity, even though I'm not a very orthodox Christian anymore. If you can get a fresh perspective on it every once in awhile, there's still so much Christianity has to say about our world-- 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 Judeo-Christian cultural myth.

In an age where we are being told on a daily basis that the answer to the world's problems is more guns, more guns, and more guns, here is (according to Christian theology) God's answer to the world's problems: a tiny, helpless, baby, born to an unwed mother from a poor, politically oppressed people. He had no political power, no armies, no guns.  He never held office, he never won an election, he never showed much interest at all in politics.  He changed the world anyway.  We've heard the story so many times that it's hard to remember how strange it is, how utterly confounding.

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


  1. It really is an astonishing story when you think about it. But having survived the day (it was good, just long with a lot of people), I'm going to have to sleep on it to come up with anything even approaching profound. I hope you and your family had a happy day.

  2. J.D. went to midnight mass with a friend. He learned about WHY Mary and Joseph were traveling through that town with no room at any inn. A census! Did I know that and forget? Or did I never hear the reason for their journey? It doesn't matter, I too, just love the story. And you make a wonderful point, as usual. Yep, a baby!

  3. As Bruce Cockburn wrote/sang:

    Like a stone on the surface of a still river
    Driving the ripples on forever
    Redemption rips through the surface of time
    In the cry of a tiny babe