Saturday, December 24, 2011

"A Child, a Child, shivers in the cold, let us bring him silver and gold..."

This night is magic. When I was a kid, I would go outside each Christmas eve and walk down my street, just to look at the stars (if it wasn't cloudy) and imagine what it was like in Bethlehem two thousand years ago.

I know-- I know-- Jesus probably wasn't born on December 25.

But the joy of this night transcends such mundane considerations, such cynicism. In fact, the uncertainty about the date of the Lord's birth is part of the joy of this night.

So much of the beauty of Christmas is in the humility of the Lord's birth, in a grotto. The Word became flesh-- the poorest of children, a homeless infant in a feed-trough. Christmas is the celebration of the moment He took on our body and our joy and suffering. It was the moment Love Himself entered history. The date wasn't recorded, because no one but a few knew what had happened. The King of Kings came among us as a helpless infant born in a barn amid animals on a date not deemed important enough to even note. The fact that we don't know the date He was born is part of what we celebrate. The Lord became the least among us. Not even a birthday. 

Christmas is the celebration of this pivot of the world, and of this paradox. The most important event in human history went unnoticed, for a while. No one even marked a calendar.

It is the most beautiful story ever told. It will be told as long as man exists. On one night, twenty centuries ago, God came into the world, a tiny newborn born to a teenaged mother and astonished father in a barn, because there was no room in the inn. It is almost too beautiful to be true, yet it is true. I love Him not only for what He taught us and what He did on the cross. I love Him for His breath-taking humility. I still go for a walk, now with my family, and contemplate these things, and we all go to Christmas Eve Mass, even my extended family, who are not Christians.

We all know, inside, what this night means. 

To help get in the spirit, here's a video of a beautiful performance of Do You Hear What I Hear by Susan Boyle. 

May God bless you all on this joyous night. 


  1. Tim Minchin Woddy Allen Jesus


  2. A Blessed peaceful Christmas eve, and a wonderful, joyous, and magical Christmas to you and your kin, Mike.
    A favourite of ours for this time of year
    We Three Kings

  3. ...and to all the Christian and non Christian readers of this blog.
    A special Christmas blessing to Pépé and his kin. God bless you and yours, mate.

  4. As for the Anti-Christian readers: ENJOY :)
    May the carols sound in your head, the children laugh at your scowl, and your tiny little hearts grow just a bit (and with them your philosophical understandings).
    Merry Christmas to all our local Grinches.
    THIS ONE IS FOR YOU, KW, Troy, Anon etc, and the rest ;)

  5. Crusader, Your Backhanded best wishes perfectly encapsulate what Christmas has become for modern conservatives, just another wedge issue to help focus your ire at people with whom you disagree. You should drop to your knees and ask your god for forgiveness for using the occasion of Jesus’ birth as an excuse to mock, insult, and harden hearts against the light and the truth. Remember you want to save people, not condemn them to Hell.


  6. A very joyful Christmas to all.

    As Dr. Egnor said, God is love and humility. He offers His love and friendship to all, believers and non-believers alike.

    What a great mystery that God did become one of us, in the most humble fashion, to demonstrate His love for us!

    I wish you and yours the very best Christmas!

  7. OOPS!
    Seems the link was broken in the last post
    here it is again:

  8. KW,
    Keep smiling, pal.
    Great to see you're in the holiday spirit(s).
    Dropping to my knees? More like off my chair and only to laugh at your silly comment.
    It's the GRINCH analogy that got so twisted up?
    You do take yourself very seriously, don't you?
    Cheer up. I was only kidding.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  9. You too Crusader.

  10. Here’s a nice Christmas song by Tim Minchin. A real tear-jerker, for me anyway.


  11. Don't take this wrong, this is just a suggestion to make your comments more user friendly. When giving a link, it is simple to make it click and go. Taking KW link as an example:

    Here’s a nice Christmas song by Tim Minchin

    Isn't this a lot better?

  12. KW

    "Crusader, Your Backhanded best wishes perfectly encapsulate what Christmas has become for modern conservatives, just another wedge issue to help focus your ire at people with whom you disagree."

    Ha! HA! I knew this was going to become controversial.

    Those are "backhanded" wishes? He was just saying that the Christian bashers, the ones who fly into fits of rage at the slightest mention of Christ, could use this holiday to get over their coldhearted ways and meditate a little on the story of the first Christmas. It's a good time for the Grinches of the world to grow a heart.

    And that really offended you. Are you one of those perpetually offended people? I bet you are.

    By the way, how did you know that he was talking to you? I guess you're a self-identified "anti-Christian reader".

    And now you will lecture me on how you're actually a very devout Christian. HA!


  13. Very nice post. I love reading Christmas related posts at this time of year and see other people's reflections on what the birth of the Son of God means.

    BTW, re: your comment that you know He probably wasn't born in the 25th, there is actually good evidence to suggest He may have been: