Monday, December 18, 2017

In the desert

"Christmas is back, bigger and better than ever before," we're told by a pagan huckster who thinks himself above sin. As his friends stuff the stockings of Mr. Scrooge, he imagines a world made safer by endless competition, bullying dominance and threats of nuclear first strikes for "non-nuclear strategic attacks." How ready I was to hear - how we need to hear - the opening words of Handel's Messiah. (We heard the excellent Bach Collegium San Diego.)

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. 
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness; prepare ye the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

True Christmas seems farther and farther away. But I guess that's the spirit of it. It's not a light you turn on for yourself the day after Thanksgiving (and in your bazaar already the day after Hallowe'en). Not a light you can imagine anyone lighting for you. You might even have gotten so used to the dark you think you can see just fine without light.

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light;
and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. 

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 Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Come, Prince of Peace.

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