Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Columns

Here are four columns about Christmas. Three of them appeared on the religion page of the Allentown, PA, Morning Call. The other is today e-mo by Barbara Crafton.

Thanks to Bill Lewellis for posting this on the Ecument listserve 'Bethlehem of PA'.

Bishop Paul V. Marshall: In Swaddling Accessibility

A Messiah on Medicaid presents good news and a challenge.

Barbara Crafton: The Perfect Tree

I used to feel sorry for older people who downscaled Christmas Surely they must experience this as a great sorrow, I thought. Now I am not so sure. Smallness and quiet call me, now, and something deep within me answers with joy, untinctured with even the slightest wistfulness. Perhaps the joy of Christmas lies not in its specialness. Perhaps what is special about it is precisely that it is an ordinary day, an ordinary day in which heaven comes to earth and transforms it, so that henceforth no day, however ordinary, is untouched by holiness.

Andrew Gerns: I have made my peace with Santa Claus

Santa and I have not always seen eye-to-eye, and this has created some awkward moments. When I was a young priest, not to mention a young parent, my relationship with the jolly old elf was at best ambiguous. I was convinced that perpetuating the myth for small children was, at best, distorting the true meaning of Christmas and, at worst, inoculating children against religion.

Lloyd Steffen: The largeness and smallness of Christmas

In the 17th century, the deeply religious French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal jotted down notes for a theological book he never got around to writing. The notes were preserved and after his death compiled in their incompleteness into a book that has become a spiritual classic—''The Pensees.'' Pascal's scribbled reflections have proven over the centuries to be enormously suggestive and provocative. Here is one of them: ''The infinitely large, the infinitely small.''

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