The Gospel Truth

The Loud Silence of Christmas | December 22, 2011

At this time of the year every Tom, Dick and Nancy that has access to anything from a laptop to a crayon is writing the definitive essay on the true meaning of Christmas.

I know this is true because I did it for the Mindszenty Report last December.

I thought I would try to approach this revered but common subject from a different angle.

It is obvious that Christmas has had its meaning changed by the deliberate vagaries of time and culture.

Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year.

My earliest memory of this revolutionary feast was, not the anticipation of Christ’s birth, but the anticipation of Santa, who was to bring me all the toys I could imagine.

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A transcendent sense of anticipation

Christmas is the time of joyous and nervous waiting, followed by a brief period of enjoyment that ended way too quickly.

That childlike sense of what was to come is akin to what Christians and Catholics call the Advent Season.

It is not unlike the desire for a happier and a better life than the one we experience on earth.

The transcendence from the mind of a child with his self-centered desires is not that hard to translate into something more elevated and even supernatural.

The Christmas season, which now seems to start sometime in July, is a composite of many different feelings and memories.

I was talking to a Jehovah’s Witness the other day and he said that he only celebrates the spiritual renewal of Christ’s birth.

While I admire his singular focus I thrive on both sides of the Christmas coin.

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The spiritual sign of the coin

Christmas’ secular activities, all in moderation, are a part of the human condition and no one should denigrate them.

I enjoy the gift giving and the smiles it brings to children of all ages because I still remember what a shiny and glitzy package could do for my struggling spirits as a child.

Then there is the holy side with Midnight Mass, the hymns of Christmas and the festive meals with friends and family that underscore the true meaning of the season.

I feel no guilt in enjoying the secular side of the Christmas holidays.

My wife and I have been going to New York City at Christmas for years, just to see the colorful lights and the tree that dominates Rockefeller Center, right across from our special place at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

It all comes together in this part of Manhattan

The two seem like a perfect complement to all the promise of the year-end season.

I think it is possible to turn that part of our celebration into a pervasive sense of joy that melds both the material and spiritual sides of our complex nature.

The joy of being with friends and family also has a deep transcendent value that can uplift our feelings and momentarily appease the yearnings for the life to come.

The Christmas spirit, both secular and religion, can be easily ingrained in our hearts and minds and spread to everyone who crosses the path of our journey of life as long as we do not lose sight of our final destination.

Even the Nativity scene at St. Pat’s seems to meld both the secular with the religious.

The rector thought a "sheep dog" was appropriate

I especially like the Christmas music–both the spiritual and the secular.

From the 12 Days of Christmas, Silver Bells and Deck  the Hall with…to O Come, O Come..and O Little Town of Bethlehem, nothing lifts my spirit and prompts me to ponder the joyous wonders of Christmas time at home.

I think my favorite hymn has to be Silent Night, written by Franz Gruber.

Together with Josef Mohr, a Catholic priest who wrote the original German lyrics, Gruber composed the music for Silent Night in 1818.

I think this Christmas classic is pregnant with meaning and wisdom for our troubled times.

It is basically an oxymoron, that is a parable of Christmas promise to the world Jesus came to save.

There is also a loud warning inherent in His promise.

A constant reminder

Christ was the only leader of a world religion whose birth was announced several centuries before it happened.

His birth and salvific death caused a universal reverberation that has has echoed through over 2000 years of history to every corner of the world.

He promised that the world would hate and persecute those who followed him.

Since His birth there have been few if any silent nights because for the first time in history, people had to choose a side.

One had to be for Jesus or against Him.

There is and never will be any middle ground.

Lukewarm became as vomit in His mouth.

Since His birth two millennia ago, there has been a noticeable divide that has cleaved mankind into two identifiable factions.

Of course there were wars and violence–one need only skim through the Old Testament to understand that the lot of most men was plagues, pestilence and violent death.

But Jesus’ promise of a better world, not of this world with its eternal peace and love, was too much for many people to fathom.

The Church He left behind has launched crusades, endured religious wars and seen legions of its followers murdered for their belief in Him.

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Part of Jesus' promise

The Prince of Peace had brought a spiritual claymore that has cleaved the human race into two warring sections.

Today this cleavage has erupted into a wholesale culture war between a culture of life and a culture of death.

It has become a civil war that has split countries, states and families.

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a claymore cleavage worthy of Braveheart

While Jesus did not will that this happen, He predicted it would because He knew the limitations and powerful drives of His creatures.

While His direct intercessions have been limited, He has always been there to help those who sought His assistance.

Some saw it as a threat to their power and august position in life, while others just did  not want to stop doing what they had been doing.

In current times, it has created such a reaction in His enemies that many have literally declared a war on the Christmas season.

A calculated and determined clique has attacked every vestige of religious and even secular celebration of His joyous season that to even mention His name in an innocuous phrase of Merry Christmas is to invite the wrath of the PC police.

This virtual war on Christmas had changed the landscape so much that many public schools have started referring to the season of Jesus’ birth as the Winter Solstice.

This has the celebratory potential of a hockey game in downtown Honolulu.

With a president in a White House, who seems to have an antipathy toward all religious fervor, especially Christianity, it makes one more aware of the very threats, not only to Christmas but to our entire perception of religious freedom.

This is all a sobering reality that hangs amid the celebration and exuberance that characterizes the Christmas season.

But it should not be any surprise to any who are aware of God’s Silent Night.

***************************************

Here are photos of the accident from my recent post.  You can view the after and the here after.

THE ACCIDENTAL KAMIKAZE

by bbprof

Unsafe at another's home

This photos was taken just five days later.

Amazing restorative powers

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5 Comments »

  1. Christmas is also my favorite time of year and Silent
    Night is my very favorite Christmas Carol.

    It is a time of year when we celebrate with our children
    and grandchildren and think of our parents who made
    Christmas so very special for us.

    My dear dad and I were the Christmas Tree shoppers.
    We shopped the lots until we found the “perfect tree.”
    After I was married, when my husband was sometimes
    out-of-town, dad and I along with his grandchildren,
    would shop for the tree and when my husband WAS
    home we would always invite him to go also. What
    happy memories!!!

    I will think of my mom who every year told our family
    Christmas Story of 1942. She was in De Paul Hospital
    and awakened by a nun who placed a tiny baby girl
    in her arms as she saw nuns with lighted candles
    processing through the halls singing none other than
    “Silent Night.”

    I think you can guess who that baby girl was. As I
    celebrate my 69th Birthday at our son’s home with
    his family I will recall all the happy memories of our
    past Christmases.

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!!

    MF (Named after Our Blessed Mother)

    Comment by M. F. — December 22, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

  2. Merry Christmas, Bill. Happy Birthday, M. F.

    God bless us, everyone.

    Comment by Jeff — December 22, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

  3. Memories memories memories. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing yours. That accident caused trauma but looks like you are healing nicely physically. Just a warning from above to be ready at all times. I try. Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to you and your family. God bless us eveyone. Pax. Mary B.

    Comment by Mary B — December 23, 2011 @ 1:44 am

  4. The problem with the Christmas spirit or holiday season is that a lot of things got mixed up. We do have to keep the secular and religion separate.
    Lots of Christians took lots of pagan rites into their worshipping. They start off already with the birth of Christ which they celebrate on the day of the birth of the goddess of light, while Jesus the Messiah was born on October the 17th 4bCE. Santa Claus, reindeers, coloured balls, christmastrees, snow, etc. have nothing to do with Bethlehem at the time of Jesus his birth nor with the place where the Messiah was born.
    Christ Jesus was also a Jew, and not a leader of a new world religion. It was people who took him a a leader of a new religion.
    The Messiah; whose birth was announced several centuries before it happened, wanted that people would honour his father, but most Christians got to honour him and took him as God while he considered him never to be a god, but was a son of God. Today most of the Christians do take Jesus to be God, while God himself pointed out to His Only Begotten Beloved Son.
    Luckily enough there are enough non-trinitarian Christians who love to spread the Gospel News and do hope that people shall get to recognise the real effort Jesus had done, giving his life for many. (God cannot die, because he is eternal, but Jesus had a beginning and came to an end at the wooden stake by giving his live for everybody.)

    Comment by Christadelphians — December 28, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

    • Dear Christadelphian:

      I seriously doubt you understand the Gospels. There are several places that state Christ’s mandate for His followers to teach all nations—sounds like a world religion to me; His talk of being equal with the Father and I am Who Am seem to make a case for His role as the Son of God.

      Comment by bbprof — December 29, 2011 @ 4:00 am


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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at bbprof@sbcglobal.net

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