I’m sending out this somewhat secular e-Christmas card to all my readers, but depictions of the Nativity of Christ can be found in my greeting postings of previous years. So I have found this nice painting of Saint (Nic)Claus transposed to our own time having a good sail on his day off. The poor man might have been a tad cold with bare arms at this time of year. Don’t capsize!!!!
I wish you all a happy feast, keeping the essential in the midst of all the commercial and secular noise and hoop-la, the overeating, family squabbles and so forth. A way to put things into perspective is to look out of the window of your house and see the silent gloom of the drizzle-and-drip weather we are having at present in Europe. The only time I have ever had a white Christmas was in 1985 high up in the Swiss Alps with a seminary friend. That silence of the dead of winter reminds us of the events so long ago in Bethlehem and the indifference of the world.
Joseph and Mary were required to fulfil their administrative obligations by going to Bethlehem where all the guest houses were full, and she went into labour. There was nothing of the romance of our carols and cribs with artificial snow and christmassy decorations. Giving birth in a farm building, unless you are a cow, is not very hygienic! We need something of the real Christmas to go with our traditional enjoyment of rich food, gifts and excited children.
If you are alone and sad, perhaps ill or disabled, may this feast bring hope and love of God in your suffering. If you are with your family and doing things the typical way, make a good hypocrisy-check and keep things reasonable. If you are absorbed in the Offices and Mass, like monks, priests and devout churchgoers, may you be blessed by the Incarnation of the Λόγος of God and all that entails. Happy Christmas!