~ NEWS, SCHMEWS– Sez this Elf: sometimes, ya just gotta stop staring at the crazy, and take some time away. Thus, any interesting seasonal linkies that snag my short attention-span, including from our regular bloggers, will be part of this bloggy X-Mastravaganza, along with cartoons, music, prayers, and whatever else suits Teh Binks. If you insist on glutting on news during the season, use all the blogroll links.
Oh, and since I celebrate Christmas properly, even unto 12th Night (Epiphany Eve, January 5th), you can keep sending Amazon.com loot this way long after the 25th-Frenzy has turned into Boxing Month.
So grab a hearty mug of elf-nog, and enjoy… and every blessing from The Binkses to all of you, and for 2010, too! ~
More Than Words
Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.
~ ITEM: O Magnum Mysterium 3: Word of the Father Now in Flesh Appearing
~ THE WORD WAS made Flesh, proclaims St. John the Evangelist, and dwelt amongst us. From this comes everything else: the Word of the Father by whom all things were made, comes down to dwell first in a virgin’s womb, then in a human and divine life, then in all hearts who will receive him.
The very structure of our world, our minds and souls, reflect his thought and love, the Word Made Flesh. In Christ Jesus, God dwells in our human neighbourhood– he pitches his tent amongst ours, shows for his love in particular, and so begins his world and heart-transforming Kingdom.
From the spiritual wisdom of Judaism and Christianity united with the thought of Greece and the laws and order of Rome comes a new kind of civilization, embodying and taking up the best of all in new forms and possibilities. If Christ is the reason in us, and gives order and coherence to the world around us, then almost anything is possible.. and God’s good draws all things upward and to himself, redeeming the evil in us, and the suffering in the world.
So “The Word Became Flesh” is the root of the West, even if we are forgetting it, and growing stale and dried up and cut off from the fountains of redemption and creativity and God’s endless making all things new. That Word is a living divine Word, the second person of the most holy and glorious Trinity, who comes down that we might be lifted up, and partake of his divine life.
It’s an astonishing claim, and the primary question for everyone ever. If he’s not The Word, he’s a fraud who did a truly bad job letting his immediate followers know that he was actually a living Hallmark Card, promoting tolerance, recycling, and whatever we happen to approve of at the moment– the Zeitgeist incarnate, as it were. ~
General Linkery Ensues
~ A GIFT FOR THE GOOD GUYS— A victory for Free Speech – Bloggers included! …. (jaycurrie)
~ SANTA STEYN’S CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN: ROCKIN’ AROUND THE HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS TREE– A centennially seasonal Song of the Week… plus Mark and Martha baking pies, Tim Rice as Santa, a bilingual Rudolph and more “very entertaining” guests and live music in The Mark Steyn Christmas Show …. (steynonline)
~ HERALD COLUMN: Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays …. (am770chqr.com)
~ TORONTO NATIVITY SCENE plaque honouring pro-life hero caught up in politics …. (catholicregister.org)
~ THE REASON.. Why did God become man? Some basic catechesis, written beautifully, from… Monsignor Ronald Knox, this time on the reason for the Incarnation …. (insightscoop)
~ THE MIGHTY Saint Nicholas ::: Discovering the Truth About Santa Claus …. (stnicholascenter.org)
~ RELIGIOUS retailers seeing the Christ in Christmas …. (catholicregister.org)
~ THE GRINCHY TORSTAR Targeting Christians In Government …. (sentinel.blog)
~ TEH SHAIDLE— Conservative Christmas presents: shop online!; ‘A Christmas Story’ gives me hives. You think I’m kidding. (UPDATED); Merry Christmas to me; ‘No, Krauthammer didn’t sing ‘Santa Baby’. Good lord, people…’ …. (fivefeetoffury)
~ ANGELS, We Have Heard– During Advent and Christmas, we can’t help but think about angels. But what exactly should we to think about them? Are there guardian angels? Do angels interact with us on a regular basis? If so, should we trust the angels who interact with us? …. (theird.org)
~ THE MAGI and the Star.. historical and astronomical evidence tends to corroborate it; Star of Bethlehem – Legacy of the Magi; Star of Bethlehem; SPACE.com — Spacewatch Friday – Star of Bethlehem …. (catholicworldreport)
Stick A Fork In Him
~ AFTER THE MESS he made of Dr. Seuss & the Grinch with his usual mugging and over-acting, I’ve little impulse to see a 3-D pixellated Disneyfied Jim Carrey ruin Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. We’ve got any number of good movie versions, new and old, and even the Muppets did a semi-decent version (as long as you ignore the touchy-feely “Christmas is about hope, love, peace, and giving” stuff, to which I always ask “Hope in What? Love for What & Whom from Where, and Peace how?”).
Unlike a liberal or radical commentator, I could be wrong (and actually admit same). Nonetheless, the mighty Scots actor Alastair Sim is the eternal Scrooge for me and my house– the 1951 BW and non-colourized version, of course. It also stars a host of other great British actors, all working together to create a nearly perfect movie.
The root of the repentance? It’s Christ, of course, as embodied in a Victorian culture that at its best was in the throes of trying to care for the working poor, impoverished, and those troubled by the unsettling effects of the new industrializing of England. ~
Scrooge 2 (1935) – Full Movie (Seymour Hicks)
~ THE BINKS GETS RESULTS— “I’ll be back after Christmas… if the world’s still here.” Blogger Hilary White gives us all an early Christmas present.. barring any life-ending disasters, or Teh Apocalypse …. (anglocath.blog)
~ NEW CHRISTIAN Rifqa Receiving Christmas Cards [ Rifqa Bary c/o Angela Lloyd 255C Drinko Hall 55 West 12th Avenue Columbus, OH 43210 ]; Rifqa Hearing Underway: CAIR/Bary Lawyer Sue for Rifqa’s Submission to Islam and Christmas card Ban …. (sentinel.blog, atlasshrugs2000)
~ A MOST INTERESTING Discovery Of 2000 Year Old Dwelling In Nazareth …. (sentinel.blog)
~ NO SHEEPLE— Christmas: For This Is Still The Time That God Chooses …. (nosheepleshere.blog)
~ XMAS FIGHTS— Update on the West Chester, Pa Christmas Tree victory over Atheist Tree …. (thesilentmajority)
~ SHIRE NETWORK #176 Podcast Promotes Religious Freedom For Everyone …. (snnsite.com)
~ BOUNDLESS ANGELS: Jim Tonkowich offers this interesting piece on angels as we approach Christmas …. (merecomments)
~ IMPERIAL SNOW WALKER— By the way – if you need help with your Christmas shopping …. (walkersunknownthoughts.blog)
Just in case we forget, from time to time, who is really governing the world:
For unto us a child is born,
unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called
The mighty God,
The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace.
— Isaiah 9:6
~ CONSPICUITY— Tales of over-the-top Christmas: In a wealthy suburb, a writer discovers people who take celebrating to a whole new level …. (macleans.ca)
~ A SPECIAL PLACE IN HELL DEP’T— Anglicans denounce the Bible (And say that Joseph can’t perform) …. (rightwingcanada)
~ BIOLOGY and physics professors debate whether Christianity is true …. (winteryknight)
~ OUR DIVINE DISTORTION: We can’t see God clearly without Jesus. O come, Emmanuel …. (christianitytoday.com)
~ STEALTH-GREETINGS— So has it come to the point in this country that the only politically correct way for Americans to wish each other Merry Christmas is if we say it in Spanish?; Merry Christmas, dammit …. (realbarackobama, pundita.blog)
~ ALBERT MOHLER: Where Does the Story of Christmas Begin? …. (transfigurations.blog)
~ ECOID GREENPEACE Christmas Cards… for Stephen Harper where you can add a personal message …. (missmarprelate.blog)
~ VIA PBS— A Festival of Lessons and Carols …. (pbs.org)
~ GRINCHERY— No Christmas in Basra, to avoid offending Shi’ites …. (jihadwatch.org)
~ LORNE GUNTHER (National Post): Worship at your own risk …. (kendallharmon)
~ BAH HUMBUG: Australian Wackademic Thinks Santa Makes You Fat and Drunk …. (closet.blog)
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.
— Words: Christina Rossetti, 1872 — Music: Cranham, Gustav T. Holst, 1906
~ SANTA TORCHED in Prague Christmas demonstration– Protesters set fire to Claus in bid to remove commercialism from holiday …. (wnd)
~ BUILD-A-BEAR Warns Kids Santa Claus May Cancel Christmas Because of Global Warming …. (Wz)
~ SOMETHING Wonderful: The Babies Are Coming …. (americandigest.org)
~ TEH GYAPONG ON Horrid “Nativity” scenes …. (deborahgyapong.blog)
Knives Are Evil?
The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir
~ VARIOUS SORTS of joy-killers and cranky protestant types first sought to ban Christmas celebrations in England and Scotland in the mid-1500s. This arises from two equally stupid notions: first, that you can encourage virtue by forbidding sin, and second, that knives are evil.
What-now, you say, about knives? Well, the argument goes that too much of the symbolism of Christmas– trees, holly, yule-logs, all that– derive from paganism, and are therefore permanently tainted. BAAAAARP! Bad Logic Alert!
That pagans used knives to do various bad pagan things, therefore we should avoid such tainted objects because of said symbolism? That’s just stupid. I’m not pondering human sacrifice as I decorate my tree or carve the Roast Beast, nor am I into druids if I kiss the Missus beneath the Mistletoe. The Holly And The Ivy? Ditto.
Although the principle arises from the incarnation of Jesus, St. Thomas articulated it best: “Grace perfects, but does not destroy nature.” So art, architecture, music, old customs, buildings, all are taken up and changed and redeemed in Christ, their perfecter and ours. He completes all things– he is the proper end of the true, the good, and the beautiful, and so as a living creative principle, transforms human endeavour and aspiration; creativity and understanding.
So recycle the old temple, but now with an altar, and the old symbols removed; have the big feast, but the animals are offered in thanksgiving to God, and no more humans sacrifice. Holly? Ivy? Deer? The Sun? All good, and reminders of new and better things…
The holly bears a bark
As bitter as any gall;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
For to redeem us all.
O the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ
Sweet singing of the choir.
All the old and redeemable things are incorporated and taken up into their completion in Christ Jesus. The old gods represented are at best fore-runners and pointers, and at worst, signs of evil and sin and the blessing of our worst impulses. When the early evangelists first came across various old pagan practices, they made this point, and that since Christ was the Lord of the dead and the living, they need not fear arbitrary gods and spirits, nor offer endless sacrifices. One scarifice for all forever, and the basis of the spiritual universe is God for us and with us and in us– God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
It’s not just a new philosophy or “just another” religion– that is not the central Christian claim. “I am come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly”– both in eternity, and in time– for Christ redeems ALL things, making them new; and the redeeming of people is likewise the redeeming of society.
God is the motive power and creative principle in Western civilization, as a Christian form of civilization. When we forget it, or as the West lest faith slip from nerveless fingers, we are become cut flowers, cut off from He who is our life individually and corporately. Any deliberate war against Christmas is thus far more than protesting over displays or prayers or Christmas themes in schools.
O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord. ~
~ DUST MY BROOM— Friday Night Blues #190 – The Annual Christmas Special …. (dustmybroom.com)
~ MERE COMMENTS ON The Anti-Christmas Card …. (merecomments)
~ THE ANTI-CHRISTIAN— UK: Legislating Equality Means Forcing Religions To Abandon Morals/Ethics/Creed …. (weaselzippers)
~ FESTIVE Bus driver ordered to yank Christmas tinsel– ‘Has bureaucracy gone mad, political correctness got out of hand?’ …. (wnd.com)
~ A DONKEY RIDE to Bethlehem– The ass may be a lowly and laughable beast, but he has had his moments of glory …. (mercatornet)
And A Sword Shall Pierce Your Heart Also
~ ITEM: There is persecution of the Christian Church in Turkey. Why is this consistent with entry into the EUSSR?
~ ITEM: Pakistan: Christian Man Killed by Islamists After He Refused to “Embrace Islam” and Recant His Faith in Jesus
~ BE LEERY about self-appointed martyrs and their ilk. Real martyrs point to God, and are called to humility, the other kind have an invisible but obvious neon sign blinking away over their heads, proclaiming.. themselves.
Suffering– especially for God or high principle, and in public, holds real temptations to self-pity, self-importance, self-righteousness, and general selfiness run amok. Suffering well gives glory to God, and is not All About You: read St, Paul’s wisdom for the Corinth church [2 Cor 1:3-6 ]:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.”
It’s all about Him, and them. You get comfort and strength in troubles– precisely so you can pass it on to benefit others, and so be both a living witness and a living answer to prayer and need, and part of God’s care for his people. It’s an honour, not an pride thing.
Martyrdom and blood are there in Christmas, too– not just in the threat to the Christ-child from mad old King Herod, but the slaughter of the babies of Bethlehem, and the promise that this child– though saviour– is the cause of the rising and falling of many, and brings a heart-piercing love to Mary his Mother, who shall see her child bear his cross and the sins of the world.
Martyrdom is a risky thing, best prepared for as a possibility, but not sought or encouraged. It must be the spiritual consequence of saying “Thy will be done”, not “It’s All About Meeeeeee!” ~
~ THE GRINCH WHO KILLED SANTA? The case against Santa Claus, according to The Infidel Prof …. (ottawacitizen.com)
~ MCJ SPOTS THE IDIOTS— “Glynn Cardy, Anglican vicar of St. Matthew-in-the-City, Auckland, New Zealand, may have written and spoken the single most offensive Christmas message that I’ve ever read”; plus “A British Anglican priest named Tim Jones has some holiday advice for the “poor.” Sin against people who have more money than you do” …. (themcj)
~ REMEMBERING Their Sacrifice During the Holidays …. (kendallharmon)
~ ANTI-CHRISTMAS GOSPEL— Ross Douthat on the False Gospel Inside the New Avatar Movie: Heaven and Nature; New movie Avatar downright racist. It would never be shown in public if they changed any of the roles; A three-hour lecture on imperialism starring Smurfs; Avatar first impressions – the Sioux win this time; Avatarocious!, by John Podhoretz; The Mind-Boggling Hypocrisy of ‘Avatar’ …. (Various)
~ HUFF AND PUFF— Group requests removal of nativity scene at Fire Station in South Carolina; BBC: Unholy row over New Zealand Mary and Joseph billboard …. (t19)
~ 2009: NO ROOM AT THE INN… US Health Reform Tells the Unborn …. (freethroughtruth.blog)
~ CHRISTMAS in History: First Media Reports (from our archives) …. (thepeoplescube)
~ PROGRESSIVE Santa is coming to town! …. (peoplescube.com)