Writing to free the prisoner of one idea, crossing the bridge of paradox to truth, serving the legacies of Chesterton and Lewis who defended their faith in Christ
“When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?” – G. K. Chesterton
As we approach this Christmas, there seem to be feelings of ambivalence even sadness in the air rather than sugarplums dancing: many of us still don’t have jobs or jobs that pay what we may need to make our bills, the economists are not predicting any pull out soon, and the swine flu pandemic has hit the parents of the children who have died very hard. The talk from many over the Internet is either sprinkled with excitement about Christmas shopping and activities that hardly seem affected by the recession or the thoughts of others foretell of “lesser” homemade gifts for loved ones coupled with an unwritten underlying wistfulness for more in their “Christmas Accounts” at the bank. Over all, one could say there is a subdued tone this Christmas: even the playing of Christmas carols is infrequent through Social Media though YouTube has an abundant selection
If we feel more serious than glad this Christmas, it is quite all right as there is still a serious gladness to be had and we may find that we feel even better for having had it. It is remarkably the same serious gladness that Chesterton speaks to when he gently reminds us of this mood in the quote above. To have legs for socks is, indeed, a reason for celebrating( though not one we may willingly concede in the face of lost treats.) But such forthright reminders and disappointments lead us over the bridge to the real hope we have been given, a reason for celebrating more… especially when that hope is felt during seriously hard times. That same seriousness of mood greeted the birth of our Lord whose gift to mankind we celebrate during this season.
For Joseph and Mary, like many of us, it was not an easy time. Mary faced the hardship of possible divorce from an initially disbelieving Joseph, though she was given support through her cousin Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah. Both Joseph and Mary had to forgo concentrating on fixing up there home for the coming child because they were compelled to pay taxes to Caesar. The journey to Bethlehem was not an easy one: the terrain and length of the trip made it necessary to pack water and food was scarce. Once they arrived, as scripture tells us: “..there was no room at the Inn”. And yet there was a Christmas light, a star, and there were Christmas carols when the heavenly host broke out in song. The Christmas gift, of course, lay in a manger for shepherds who wore no special Christmas clothes to come and see.
Like those shepherds who left their flocks so long ago, we too are invited to leave our burdens behind just for a moment to come and see that gift, to experience that serious gladness that leads to a straight-through joy more satisfying than any modern “Christmas” delight we may miss this year. For we know, we now living in these days, what that child grew up to be: Our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus. And we echo Mary’s song of Joy:
My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name. And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him. He hath shewed might in his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy: As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.
The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55)
Merry Christmas to you and yours! Till next time.
God bless you. M. S. Reed, 2009, Dilseacht, le gra go deo | Share on FriendFeed