Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

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A poem for the Christmas season

December 26, 2008

Beats cricket.

Whilst I immensely respect and admire the theological skills of The Currency Lad and saint at DogfightAtBankstown, I have to admit that it’s things like this that really work for me as far as Christianity in concerned. High Anglican, too. Now, if only they had a different Archbishop.

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Despised And Rejected

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

My sun has set, I dwell
In darkness as a dead man out of sight;
And none remains, not one, that I should tell
To him mine evil plight
This bitter night.
I will make fast my door
That hollow friends may trouble me no more.

“Friend, open to Me.”—Who is this that calls?
Nay, I am deaf as are my walls:
Cease crying, for I will not hear
Thy cry of hope or fear.
Others were dear,
Others forsook me: what art thou indeed
That I should heed
Thy lamentable need?
Hungry should feed,
Or stranger lodge thee here?

“Friend, My Feet bleed.
Open thy door to Me and comfort Me.”
I will not open, trouble me no more.
Go on thy way footsore,
I will not rise and open unto thee.

“Then is it nothing to thee? Open, see
Who stands to plead with thee.
Open, lest I should pass thee by, and thou
One day entreat My Face
And howl for grace,
And I be deaf as thou art now.
Open to Me.”

Then I cried out upon him: Cease,
Leave me in peace:
Fear not that I should crave
Aught thou mayst have.
Leave me in peace, yea trouble me no more,
Lest I arise and chase thee from my door.
What, shall I not be let
Alone, that thou dost vex me yet?

But all night long that voice spake urgently:
“Open to Me.”
Still harping in mine ears:
“Rise, let Me in.”
Pleading with tears:
“Open to Me that I may come to thee.”
While the dew dropped, while the dark hours were cold:
“My Feet bleed, see My Face,
See My Hands bleed that bring thee grace,
My Heart doth bleed for thee,
Open to Me.”

So till the break of day:
Then died away
That voice, in silence as of sorrow;
Then footsteps echoing like a sigh
Passed me by,
Lingering footsteps slow to pass.
On the morrow
I saw upon the grass
Each footprint marked in blood, and on my door
The mark of blood for evermore.

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Christmas greetings from Israel

December 26, 2008

Before we go there, a question.  Sorry it’s such a long one.

WHICH STATE, in the all-too-long history of warfare between nations, is the only one which, when confronted with an enemy who:

  1. has as its foundational value the destruction of the subject state by armed force and terror
  2. inculcates genocidal hatred of the subject state among its population and more particularly its young
  3. infiltrates the sovereign territory of the subject state across international borders and kidnaps one of the subject state’s soldiers (an act of war)
    • refuses subsequently to allow the captive access to international humanitarian authorities (a war crime)
  4. infiltrates suicide bombers into the territory of the subject state as acknowledged instruments of murder in accordance with declared policies (acts of war)
  5. bombards the subject state with rockets (acts of war) – to the number of several score on a single day, which rockets are:
    1. fired from civilian areas under cover of the civilian infrastructure (a war crime)
    2. unguided, regardless of target (a war crime)
    3. specifically intended to kill, maim and terrorise civilians (a war crime)
    4. protected from retaliation by the subject state with civilian human shields, commonly women and children  (a war crime)
  6. has never concealed, denied or resiled from any or all of the above;

IS then nonetheless required by the international community to:

  1. refrain from retaliating (by striking at the rocketeers and terrorists)
  2. refrain from protecting itself (by closing its borders)
  3. refrain from defending itself (by erecting barriers and checkpoints)

AND IS also directed by the international community to support, sustain and nurture, in a time of war, the enemy sworn to its destruction by providing it with –

  1. Fuel
  2. Food
  3. Water
  4. Power
  5. Humanitarian aid
  6. Access of the subject state’s hospital and medical services
  7. Money
  8. Free movement across its borders

– without demur, limit or objection.

Which state? You guessed it.

With all that in mind, let’s go, as Carl in Jerusalem would say (thanks, Carl), to the videotape.

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Christmas greetings from Iran

December 25, 2008

…. of all places.

Britain’s Channel 4 TV station has decided to broadcast a lecture to the West from the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as its ‘alternative’ to the Queen’s traditional Christmas message.

A taste (the whole thing is here):

If Christ were on Earth today, undoubtedly He would stand with the people in opposition to bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers.

If Christ were on Earth today, undoubtedly He would hoist the banner of justice and love for humanity to oppose warmongers, occupiers, terrorists and bullies the world over.

If Christ were on Earth today, undoubtedly He would fight against the tyrannical policies of prevailing global economic and political systems, as He did in His lifetime. The solution to today’s problems is a return to the call of the divine Prophets. The solution to these crises is to follow the Prophets – they were sent by the Almighty for the good of humanity.

Ahmadinejad has been reading the Western Left’s talking points all right, but has obviously never heard that Christ said:

Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s (“Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ”) (Matthew 22:21).

It is to this recognition of the distinction between the the spiritual and the temporal that may be attributed the success of Christianity as a modernising influence; and to the lack thereof, on the part of Islam, its failure to do the same.

Sadly, the Iranian leader’s message is only marginally more incoherent than that of the Archbishop of Canterbury (see this post).

It hardly seems necessary to add that under Ahmadinejad Iran is aggressively pursuing a nuclear weapons development program (no-one sensible seems to dispute this) and fervently desires the elimination of Israel from the table of nations.  But perhaps more to the point, early last year he humiliated Britain in the eyes of the world by kidnapping 15 UK sailors and marines from international waters and returning them, laden with gifts, and tarnished with unavoidable implications of cowardice and treachery, to their parent nation and service, to the disgrace of both.

For this service many thanks, and free air-time on Britain’s airwaves.

But be all that as it may, Tehran’s proxy in Gaza, Hamas,  continues to spread the Christmas message in its own inimitable way.  And implements Sharia law as well. And persecutes Christians, too, of course.

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In the bleak midwinter

December 25, 2008

My favourite Christmas carol, words by Christina Rossetti (one of my favourite poets), music by Gustav Holst.

I’m not the biggest fan of the English choral tradition, but this rendering by Gloucester Cathedral Choir is pretty good.

I first heard this lovely carol as part of the soundtrack of a great feminist short film called A Jury of Her Peers.

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O come, Emmanuel!

December 24, 2008

To mark tomorrow’s eternal day, the aching Veni, Veni Emmanuel:

Veni.

Veni.

Veni.