“The people in darkness have seen a great light…” – Isaiah 9:2
I had a lovely Christmas Day. Spent the early part of it with some friends, then had a little problem with my neurological disorder and came home to stay much of the time since then in and out of bed quietly. I watched a few schmaltzy Christmas Movies. One of my secrets is I love the sort of formulaic schmaltz the Hallmark Channel puts out at Christmas – but try not to let too many people know it. Guess the secret is out now. I don’t go for it much of any time the rest of the year (though I am fond of some of the better chick flicks…You’ve Got Mail, Notting Hill, Roman Holiday. My son said I was the perfect movie Dad growing up – I gave him a taste for action adventure when he was with the boys, a taste for chick flicks when he was on a date, and a love of the classics any time). So I had a lovely, if not terribly active, Christmas Day. Thank you for all your Christmas wishes and may God bless you and keep you throughout the year.
In 2013 we saw the visible beginning of collapse, as social, economic and security systems throughout the globe were eaten away. In 2014 we saw the consequences of the loss of these systems…as riotings and wars erupted throughout the globe. This year we will see how meaningless time is to God as things follow on each other at unbelievable and shocking speed. Both bad things and good things. Gird your loins, acknowledge God, take the next right step, be a sign of hope to those around you, and be deliberate and steady.
A little piece from that fabulous Christian writer from the middle of the last century, C.S. Lewis. I think it marvelously appropriate to this season and to what lies before us:
“When human souls have become as perfect in voluntary obedience as the inanimate creation is in its lifeless obedience, then they will put on its glory, or rather that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch. For you must not think that I am putting forward any heathen fancy of being absorbed into Nature. Nature is mortal; we shall outlive her. When all the suns and nebulae have passed away, each one of you will still be alive. Nature is only the image, the symbol; but it is the symbol Scripture invites me to use. We are summoned to pass in through Nature, beyond her, into that splendour which she fitfully reflects.
“And in there, in beyond Nature, we shall eat of the tree of life. At present, if we are reborn in Christ, the spirit in us lives directly on God; but the mind and, still more, the body receives life from Him at a thousand removes—through our ancestors, through our food, through the elements. The faint, far-off results of those energies which God’s creative rapture implanted in matter when He made the worlds are what we now call physical pleasures; and even thus filtered, they are too much for our present management. What would it be to taste at the fountainhead that stream of which even these lower reaches prove so intoxicating? Yet that, I believe, is what lies before us. The whole man is to drink joy from the fountain of joy. As St. Augustine said, the rapture of the saved soul will “flow over” into the glorified body.”
I have a faithful reader in Garabandal, Spain, who has been in communication with me since last summer. She has been kind enough to offer prayers up on my behalf in that wonderful, blessed little town. She and her husband, to prepare for the times, are moving all to a spot able to act as refuge (also in Garabandal). She mentioned to me that they want to sell three flats and a little plot of land in the town to help finance stocking up their refuge. So if you have ever had a hankering to get a place in Garabandal, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward it on to her. After I forward your message, I will have no further involvement. I have no interest, financial or otherwise in it, but I figured I would pass it on at her request.
Early this month the Taming the Wolf Institute had a particularly poignant piece on what we face as we go through this Christmas Season – and what so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world face. I think this post by Lindsay Stone is well worth contemplating.
The British Catholic Herald published a marvelous piece on a homily by Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury. In his homily, he decimated the late John Lennon’s popular song, “Imagine.” The song celebrated all the
wonderful things that would follow if we would all embrace atheism. It has a marvelous tune, but I loathed it when I was a young fellow.
The fact is, the “isms” of the 20th Century butchered more people than all the religious wars of history combined. In fact, the atheist regimes of the Soviet Union and of Communist China each murdered more people than all the religious wars of history combined. And don’t even get me started on Nazi Germany, the only functionally pagan state in modern history.
Lennon encourages us to “Imagine…there is no heaven or hell.” Both Joe Stalin and Mao tse-Tung did. May we never have a repeat of that sort of toxic imagination.
Finally, in the last month we have had visited here from over 70 countries throughout the world. I have gotten used to having a substantial contingent from Denmark checking in every day. It tickles me, though, that we regularly get visitors here from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel. Russia grows slowly but steadily – and a contingent that is rising slowly but steadily is from Malta, with over a hundred visits the last month. We have never, however, had a visit from either China or North Korea.
Since so many of you either know English to read this – or use a translation program – I figured I would link to this little chart to wish you a Merry Christmas in your own language.