And serious it is. With tinsel too. Few in our 'post-modern', 'post-Christian' society seem to grasp just what a momentous event is celebrated.
and God, the Son, begotten not made, One in substance with The Father through whom all things were made, Himself, came down to Earth.
Et Homo Factus Est
Not one scientist since then has ever stirred himself to investigate that event.
Those scientist fellows - the new priesthood - busy themselves with finding invisible quarks and leptons, electrons and 'charms', particles that 'tunnel' and affect one another although light years apart.
People believe them.
Those scientists have complex runes and hieroglyphics that 'explain the odd 'fact' that while we live in four dimensional space-time, there are at least seven other dimensions that we 'know' of but cannot see or touch, sense or pin down.
People believe them.
People have 'Faith' in science.
Not only do people believe them but we spend squillions of bucks building underground temples where they can whizz those invisible particles around. And some of those bucks went on a statue.
Not to Christ. But to a pagan false-god. Shiva.
And the result?
We have iPhones.
God gives us Life everlasting.
But people lack faith in and ignore the fact that
God the Father made Heaven and Earth and all things visible and invisible.
We accept the earthy part but quite ignore the heaven part. We can't see it. He made all things visible and invisible, but unless a scientist tells us about invisible things mentioned above - and we hang on their every word about them - we shunt all the invisible right out of our heads.
But what a subject for scientific study !
So, what happened at that first Christmas?
God, in His Trinitarian essence, became a man. The Son. He was incarnate by the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who together with the father and the Son is adored and glorified - another manifestation of His Trinitarian essence - and born to a young teenage girl, herself pure from birth.
She, Mary, didn't have an iPhone and she hadn't even been accepted into Uni. She was not noted as a party-girl nor for selfies, even in crayon. She had a boyfriend who had a start-up carpentry business but that was about it.
Not only was she a 'single mum' in post-modern parlance, but she gave birth while enjoying a 'lifestyle' that would horrify women of today, who, faced with a pregancy and having nowhere to live would go off and have an abortion.
Mary simply said "Do unto me according to Thy will".
To her if a stable was good enough for Christ it was good enough for her.
She had Faith.
The sky opened. An Angel from that other-dimensional Heaven came down and spoke to some quite startled shepherds. And entire choir of Angels parted the sky, clouds and all, and sang the sheer stupendous news of this event of all events.
A Star had been pointing the way to the stable, we are told. Indeed we are told in many places by many people of the time. Some were wise and some, like me, were Kings. You don't believe wise old Kings ??
Scientists tell us it was a comet. Oh, wait, it was a conjunction of planets. Yeah, right. No. It was a supernova. Sure. They give us pap and nonsense. Keep looking chaps. Listen to the King.
And while you are at it, look into this business of Heaven and Earth being visible even momentarily - well, in enough time for a long series of verses and choruses from the Angelic choir. They didn't come all that way to be shunted off stage after only one stanza.
Think of all the practice that must have been done. !
Christ, the only begotten Son of God Himself, my Supplier, was begotten right there and then.
The entire history of the Universe balanced on a point and turned.
And not one nation today has a budget line for investigations. No Uni department has a scientist professor looking at the event with a microscope or a synchrotron. The Large Haldron Collider does not whizz in a prayer for Spiritual Enlightenment.
And that is not because the entire world is stunned in awe.
It should be.
If you are a customer with Faith, then we raise our glasses.
This is the best time of the year.
Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, I shall be treated to two Latin Masses. And another on Christmas Day too.
I count myself to be a most fortunate tavern Keeper.
I was asked by a customer who took me aside, about Mary being a single mum (in modern parlance I hastened to make clear). There was also a point about being refugees and so on. The usual. So I had the good Fr. John Zuhlsdorf make the responses.
Mary was an “unwed mother”?
The Holy Family were “refugees”?From a reader…QUAERITUR:At this time of year the inevitable ‘Mary was an unwed mother‘ and The Holy Family’s flight into Egypt makes them migrants sermons are very confusing. Can you clarify these interpretations? Or recommend a source that does.I discount them as political or ‘Social Justice’interpretations that use both events to their own purposes, which I think is wrong! A recent example was USCCB using the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe as ‘a day of Solidarity with Migrants’. I see my church becoming way too political. Thank you and Merry Christmas to you!
I stopped well short Fr.Yes… this sort of thing is inevitable: force the narrative into an agenda.1 – Mary was an unwed mother… not.The Jewish marriage practice was to make the contract with the bride’s father and pay a bride-price (mohar) and the betrothal was the legal equivalent of a marriage ceremony. The bride would remain in her father’s home for up to a year, but she was considered to be married. Joseph would have paid the bride-price at their engagement, when the marriage contract was solemnized, but Mary would have remained in Joachim’s house. They were formally wedded in a ceremony after the angel instructed Joseph in the dream.So, from the moment Mary was betrothed to Joseph she was legally considered to be the wife of Joseph. Their relationship was sacred as if they had already had the wedding ceremony. The bond could not be dissolved except, as after formal marriage, by divorce.Calling Mary an “unwed mother” is dangerously close to blasphemy.
OK? So all the baying mobs beyond the hedge and the occasional 'unsure' supping some much needed grace in the bar corner, there is your answer.2 – The Holy Family were “refugees”. Sort of, but not in the way that liberals want you to believe.The Holy Family goes first to Nazareth because of the census. If you are going to your ancestral town mandated census, you are not a refugee.“But Father! But Father!, libs are squealing, “They were denied a room in the inn. Those innkeepers were mean refugee hating meanies! They were undocumented migrants and the haters refused to let them in. That’s what YOU would do! That’s because you HATE VATICAN II!”If you register in the census, you are not “undocumented”.They weren’t migrants, because they were only there to register and then return home to Nazareth.They didn’t get to stay at the inn or the khan, because – try to follow this – there was no room at the inn. Which means there was no room at the inn. They weren’t give room because there wasn’t any. If there had been a room, they would have been given a room. It was customary to take travelers into homes, as when people journeyed to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice. As Alfred Edersheim explains the denial of a room had nothing to do with their poverty. The rabbinic teaching was that travelers were to be received as the shekinah should be received. So, they weren’t rejected because they were poor, or “different” or foreigners, blah blah blah. The inn or khan was FULL.The Holy Family went to Egypt. Why? Just before the Patron Saint of Planned Parenthood, Herod, ordered the slaughter of all the babies, an angel told Joseph in a dream to take his family to Egypt. If an angel tells you to do something, you do it. So, the flight into Egypt was not just due to the awful circumstances caused by Herod, it is also divinely directed because of what Herod was going to do.Also, they had to to Egypt so that the prophecy would be fulfilled:That it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Out of Egypt have I called my son. (Matthew 2:15)So, no, they Holy Family, seeking refuge in Egypt at the specific direction of God, is not the archetype of all refugees today.If they sought refuge in Egypt, they were, in a sense, “refugees”. However, they were a) they were three people, not thousands and they were b) fleeing the concrete danger of murder of their Child. They sought sanctuary. Moreover, the Holy Family were no threat to the national security of Egypt. When the danger was over, they went home.It is interesting to note that the Joseph of Genesis was driven into Egypt, which led to the enslavement of the People. Joseph of the New Testament was driven into Egypt, which led to the salvation of the People. Herod and Pharaoh both ordered the slaughter of infants. Moses and Jesus both escaped slaughter in Egypt and both led an exodus from bondage.