is a different matter. Even the children
won't go for angels. Yes,
a child was born, and later got out:
we've sorted Egypt's dust bins for that,
and our own gypsies cast the wanderings
of stars. Royal astrologers
could be as wise, shepherds stumble
onto something, but angels—
that is an ox of a strange color:
being between God and man
with, well, wings, and an obligation
It is not to prove them,
whose worth is least in doubt,
that we tell of angels, tell their singing
in this lean-to where a woman will adore
whatever she has borne, a man
holds his weary foot, kings
cast about a lost country, rude men
at fires in the hills mutter of signs:
here too sing. Though to them
this interlude, this Bethlehem is nothing,
they sing as though they were song.
Joseph sighs, and tethers his donkey.
This music to him is nothing.
He must ready for a journey.
In this way men have always understood an angel,
who would walk, if he had no wings,
making a music of hooves and sandals.
Christianity and Literature, 50.3 Spring 2001, p. 559.
God of the journey, your invitation is to all
to walk with you without fear of stumbling
Your arm enough to steady the feeblest soul
Your grace to rescue us should we fall
Grant us faith enough to take you at your word
To know that when our hearts are heavy
and the destination seems so distant
that you are there with us along the road
Forgive us those times when we doubt your Word
when we awake and feel alone
Draw us ever closer into your family
that we might know your presence
and sing your praises
all the days of our lives. Amen
Kristoffer Ardena, Phillipines, The Meaning of Christmas, 1995.
Michael Bunster P. Dios de Paz. from his recording Cúbreme En Vivo. 2012.
Echo toda mi ansiedad sobre Tí,
porqués que de mi tendr´s cuidado.
Cuando pase por el mar de la aflicción,
Tú me guarderás
Dios de paz,
que cuidas mi camino.
Dios de paz
contigo estoy tranquilo.
Dios de paz.
Me libraryás del temor,
del lazo del cazador.
El agua no me ahogará,
el fuego no me quemará.
Cast out all my anxiety about you,
because I know you will be gentle to me.
When passing through the sea of affliction,
You will keep me
God of peace,
you care for path.
God of peace
with you I am calm.
God of peace.
You deliver me from fear,
and the snare of the fowler.
The waters do not drown me,
the fire will not consume me.
The Christmas gospel is not a social programme; but it does contain a judgement upon all who imagine that their wealth and power removes them from the common human destiny. It teaches them that they are already in solidarity with the poorest, even though they do not recognize the fact; and it tells them that this solidarity must now find expression in humility and generosity, and in the search for true justice for all.
And the Christmas gospel does this simply by pointing us again to the greatest fact of human history: God's coming among us in the form of a helpless child. What is to be truly human?
The sages and politicians of the ancient world would have seen true humanity in the beauty and rationality of human beings, in their liberty from constraints. The gospel tells us to look to the poor child of Bethlehem as the true human being. If we want to know what is most basic and what never changes, it is to be seen in our weakness, in the fact that we are born in need of the love and care of others. The more we forget that, the further we go from real human dignity. The more we remember it, the more we enter into real freedom, Godlike freedom, the freedom to give and receive love. —Rowan Williams. Ecumenical Christmas letter to the heads of other Churches and Christian world communions, 7 December 2011.
May the Lord, when he comes, find us watching and waiting. Amen.