Friday, 23 December 2016

Two Thousand Years Of Wrong

It came upon the midnight clear,

That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold;
“Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From Heav’n’s all-gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.

  1. Yet with the woes of sin and strife
    The world has suffered long;
    Beneath the angel strain have rolled
    Two thousand years of wrong;
    And man, at war with man, hears not
    The love-song which they bring;
    Oh, hush the noise, ye men of strife
    And hear the angels sing.

Many misconceptions, endless assumptions, too many cultural misrepresentations, masses of historical ambiguities peppered with nebulous presumptions.... that's one definition of the origins of Christmas.   it's also a description of the reign of the dinosaurs.   when we are uncertain of the past we have a tendency to fill it with our own experiences and expectations (whoever knew dinosaurs had feathers not scales?  we were taught they were simply giant lizards.)  it's this tendency that makes us human not raptor..... and that we prefer our turkey cooked not raw.

Does it matter that this Christ-mas we celebrate is full of uncertainty and ambivalence?  that the few facts we do know have been as fancifully embellished as King Arthur and Camelot?   deconstruct a traditional Christmas card and you will find very little that doesn't owe it's genesis to a large dollop of imagination and early European art.

Does it matter that the rare historical certainties we do have are brushed aside because of their darkness?   a child born homeless in an enemy occupied territory, the mass killing of baby boys by a paranoid tyrant afraid of losing his power, a family fleeing for their lives to a strange country and culture doesn't make for a pretty scene on the mantelpiece does it?  a little too close to our world's current reality perhaps?   so yes.... it does matter because in prettifying the nativity we strip it of it's humanity and create a myth that challenges nothing and nobody.   but.... if in the boy Jesus we see the face of a displaced refugee, the desolate chill of a slum child, the stigma of illegitimacy, the precarity of homelessness then maybe we would be compelled to act and that's not comfortable when compared with a snowy scene of baby barnyard  animals and an infant who "no crying makes".

So no matter how, or if, you celebrate.  whether you are alone or surrounded by merriment, honour God Incarnate  or Santa, are blessed with plenty or struggling with deficit, perhaps it would be worthwhile taking time to remember that not much has changed in two thousand years and the only hope of transforming our world lies with each one of us embarking on revolution in our homes, work places, friendships, a revolution of forgiveness and love.   we can't undo two thousand years of wrong but we can commit to a year of doing better.   then perhaps we would find the true meaning of a Season Of Goodwill To All Men.


Kathy C said...

You're right, Jeni. Changing the world has to begin with a personal revolution in my life, and yours and everyone's. It would be great if every reader of your blog would commit to this for the coming year. Not easy though. As a Christian I am glad that I can draw on God's strength to help me, his guidance so I know what to do, and his forgiveness when I fail.

brokenbutstillstanding62 said...

Beautiful - can I share it? jane gollifer

brokenbutstillstanding62 said...

of course. have you opened it? there's a lovely snowy traditional scene too half way down blog post

brokenbutstillstanding62 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
brokenbutstillstanding62 said...

Yes I meant the writing was beautiful. jane