So Strange —

I posted my “Grumpy Old Woman” bah-humbug rant here last year, and as my sentiments haven’t changed in the last 12 months I’ll leave it at that. But musing about the reason for the season has led to this.

Stained glass showing Lamb of God with vexillu...

Stained glass showing Lamb of God with vexillum and chalice, from chapel that used to be part of a convent (now a Baptist church and school complex) in El Cajon, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was a strange way to go about redeeming the world:
A host of angels making so much racket in the heavens
Fit to wake the dead, yet the only ones who responded
Were a bunch of yokels, shepherds guarding their sheep.

And a star that only three (or maybe four) wise men could understand,
Though there must have been a great number of magi at that time,
And these few the only ones willing to make the journey
To pay homage to the mortal who was also a king and God.

A strange thing indeed, for God to take human form anyway,
But to come as a helpless baby, born to an unmarried girl,
And at such a time, in such circumstances, away from home
Camping out in a stable with the animals, sleeping in a manger:

Such a strange idea, all this. But have we not made it even stranger,
This midwinter festival called Christmas, this celebration
Supposedly in honour of His birth, a time to be glad and rejoice
That He came, human, royal, divine, to be a perfect sacrifice for our sins?

We celebrate with gluttony and greed, drunkenness, promiscuity;
Worldly wealth and status symbols dominate our lives.
Hypocrisy, sentimental nostalgia and “Look what a good boy am I”
Are the counterfeit values we derive from the message of the angels.

And though we sing carols about Christ, what we teach our children
Is to believe in and venerate a mythical benefactor,
An old man with a white beard, coming in a sleigh drawn by reindeer,
Leaving presents beneath a gaudily decorated fir tree:

What has any of this to do with God’s gift of grace? With the Christ child?
His redemptive purpose of death by crucifixion?
Such a strange way to celebrate the birth of Our Lord,
The second Adam.  But in this fallen world we are estranged.

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