Christmas

Classic and contemporary excerpts.

Strength of the world
There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.

The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.

To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.

To the end of the way of the
wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.

—G. K. Chesterton, extracts from his poem "The House of Christmas"

LITTLE CHANGES

There were only a few shepherds at the first Bethlehem. The ox and the ass understood more of the first Christmas than the high priests in Jerusalem. And it is the same today.

—Thomas Merton in "The Seven Storey Mountain"

GOD IN THE STRAW

Theodosius Harnack, Luther scholar of note, said that for Luther the imperative was to have "God deep in the flesh." Christmas celebrates just that: God deep in the flesh. So great was God's longing for his creatures' redemption, says Luther, that God's preference for human nature over angelic nature might even have provoked the angels to jealousy! But Psalm 8 nudges that issue: what are human beings that you are mindful of them? They have been made a bit lower than angels but crowned with glory and honor. A preference for humans: in that lies the Christmas gospel …

There is God in the flesh, thriving in a placenta, protected by a water bag, bouncing on a donkey ride to Bethlehem where his folks had to meet the local IRS. No different than any other baby at the time. While ...

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