Merry Christmas

It is an odd thing to be a Roman Catholic co-blogger amongst a bunch of libertarians who are mostly not religious, or are formerly religious, and some of whom are actively hostile. I see more and more of that hostility these days, so I feel more and more free to just say what I think on the subject. I have never had any interest whatsoever in being anything else. But today most of all I a realize how blessed I am.

During Advent, we get ready for the arrival of the baby, and we turn our prayers more and more onto the scene which is coming, which has been reproduced so often, sometimes as masterpieces of art, more often as kitsch. The last day or so, it is easy to imagine Mary and Joseph, real flesh-and-blood people, on the road, tired, worried, not sure where they will be staying, roughing it. You can imagine yourself walking beside them on the road, coming over a rise, Bethlehem ahead at last. Maybe you put your hand on Joseph’s shoulder, “look, it will be OK. You are almost there”. But then, no place to stay, after all that. They carried on, they did what they could with the means at hand. They did not have an easy time. What a small act of kindness it would have been for someone to make room for a pregnant woman for one day. Make an effor to be patient and kind to the people around you, to be alert to their needs, look up from what you are doing and look around. This is harder than it sounds. Decide not to hold personal grudges. If that is too hard, pick one and drop that one.

God Almighty chose to disclose himself, at first, in the most understated possible fashion, silently, obscurely, at the edge of civilization, far away from the powerful and the wealthy and the well-connected, the well-read, the clever. This is so clearly a Divine approach, at least it seems so to me, no need to show off. Humility is a very basic virtue we all lack to some degree, but one which we would do well to work on. I direct this at myself as much as anyone.

The creator of the universe is Love. Hard to grasp. Love is as basic as being itself, love precedes the material existence of the universe. This is not how it seems much of the time. The world itself, despite its many terrors, its many disappointments, which are consequences of original sin, is after all a good place and we are lucky to be here. Love, of course, the real article, is deeds, not sweet words. God in his providence has brought people into your life, so love them by how you treat them, and where appropriate, by telling them so. This time of the year is a good time to decide to turn up the effort a little bit in this department.

I hope all our readers get the presents they want. Around here people are still wrapping things.

God bless all our contributors, our readers, our friends and our enemies.

7 thoughts on “Merry Christmas”

  1. Merry Christmas, Lex.

    Stick to your guns – we’re here for such a brief time, but what we do with our time MATTERS. So many difficult themes are bandied about on this blog by scared, angry, imperfect, and impatient people with imcomplete information. I hope and pray that we are groping our way toward some ‘tough love’ in a world that sorely needs it. It’s a comfort to know that God never gives up on us.

    God bless you and your family this coming year.

  2. And, you are not alone. The 20th century was a bad one for Christians and Christianity. I suspect the tide is turning though. The current level of contempt and scorn is a defensive reaction, little different from that Paul faced in Athens when he spoke with the philosophers.

    Merry Christmas to all here, and thanks to all for the high level of courtesy maintained in both posts and comments. I don’t comment often here, but this site is a breath of fresh air.

  3. I am an atheist, i.e., I don’t think that there is a god or gods out there to whom I owe existence, life or anything else. But ‘atheism’ isn’t my purpose in life, or even very high on my list of things to do. Mainly, I’m the grandfather of 5 beautiful children, who (this is the amazing part) apparently look on me pretty much as I looked on my long-departed grandfather years ago.

    And, (the amusing part) I have a Christmas tree in the corner, well-decorated, and the g-kids flock to it, greedily opening gifts as if there will be no tomorrow. They’re wrong, of course, and on some tomorrow they will indulge their own g-kids in much the same way, for much the same reasons. I am ever thankful for the instant season, and for life itself, which both celebrates and is celebrated. The women of the family went to Mass last night….

    I agree completely with the sentiments expressed by Jim. And those by Tom Bri, except I note that the last century was a bad one for a lot of people, including atheists and adherents of non-Christian religions, too. Here’s hoping that this century gets better for everybody, regardless of their beliefs.

    I will do what little I can to make that happen — Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  4. Hi Robert. My comment above was not meant to minimise the cruelties done to all sorts. I was more thinking of the internal rot and insecurity that weakened Christianity. I am hoping a resurgent Christianity will lead to great good things like the effort to eliminate slavery in the 19th century.

    In times of insecurity we Christians are just as nasty and capable of evil as anyone else. The loss of faith and hope was a big part of what led to so many of the 20th century’s horrors, in my view. We have a lot to account for. But I have a lot of hope.

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