“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” – Albert Einstein

I am working on a meme and thinking of the Christmas season in all those nostalgic, sweet-sad ways that the rites of the seasons always bring upon me.  Until I can get my thoughts organized enough to post, enjoy a little of last year’s Christmas wonderings:

Amy-Renee posted yesterday on how much she loved Christmas.

Of the multitude of differences between my best friend and I (and “opposites attract” is about the only way to explain our close relationship), that is one of the things upon which we are in complete harmony.

I love Christmas.

I will start playing Christmas music as soon as it is seasonally decent to do so.  I lean toward traditional arrangments – most of the pop-Christmas stuff (with a few notable exceptions) makes my ears bleed.  Give me Nat King Cole singing “Adeste Fideles”, though, and I am in heaven.  And I will have to say, I miss snow.  When you grow up in the land of “Over the river and through the woods” where the “horse knows the way, to carry the sleigh”, you have to reach down deep for those jingle bells when you are running around in shorts and a Hawaiian shirt at Thanksgiving dinner.  The Louisiana years were tough in that respect.

Mostly, I have loved Christmas for the story.   THAT story.  The Nativity.

All my life the story of the babe in the manger has moved me. 

As a parent, it takes my breath away.

Children are born of faith and hope.  We bring them into a world that is deeply flawed.  A world of hardship and violence.  A world of hatred and division.  But we also bring them into a humanity capable of amazing acts of love and kindness.  They are the manifestation of our faith that the world will continue and somehow we will leave a legacy worth handing to them.   They are our shot at immortality, and in them we wrap our hopes for a future that will somehow, against all odds, be better than the one we live in.  We protect them, we nurture them, and we sacrifice for them.  But most of all, we love them with a love so boundless and fierce that it can manifest as a physical ache.  We look into the face of our infants and we project the world upon them.  Could there be no sacrifice greater than your child?  It is what makes the sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis so horrifying a test of faith.

“And He so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son…”

That God so loved humanity that he would send his own son, in full knowledge of the suffering he would have to endure, is a symbol of unconditional love that could not be expressed as fully in any other way.  Whether you believe in the Christian canon or not, the power of the story is undeniable.  Could I look into the face of my innocent son and send him off to certain death and agony for the sins of another?

Forgiveness is divine.

I have been moved by Krishna’s dialogue with Arjuna in the Bhagavad Ghita and the lesson of devotion and sacrifice to purpose.  I have been moved by Taoist teachings on the beauty of the transitory.  There is a message in the stories of great religions that transcend the dogma of faith. 

Forgiveness is divine. 

Whatever religion you practice, or if you practice none at all, there is something we can all hold in our heart about Christmas.  If we forgive one person for their sins against us, we have held it in our heart.  When we comfort one person in need this season, when we give of ourselves, our time, our hope, our love, we have lived in the spirit of the Nativity.  We have taken one step toward being a humanity that is worth so profound a sacrifice.

Peace on Earth.

Good Will to All Men.

Merry Christmas.

December 18th, 2007 at 4:25 pm
One Response to “A cradle in Bethlehem”
  1. 1

    […] So all is right with our little world.  I hope that all of you are finding yourselves safe and sound this season.  Travel safely, treat yourself to the cookies without too much fretting over tomorrow, and love your kids.  For and even more profound look at those feelings, here are words from the wisest woman I know in real life and her best friend . . .  […]