Essay / Misc.

Holy Night

Holy NightMy house is very quiet. The children have gone with their mother to do last minute shopping at the Dollar Store, the Mecca for bargain Christmas presents. This is the last moment of quiet this father will experience until late tomorrow night. From seven to fourteen, four children are slowly winding up for an explosion of celebration. We moved last week, so Christmas has come on us suddenly. The kids are packing all the celebrating they can into the weekend. My wife has made the new house home already and it is Dad, who has done the least, who is the most tired.Jane, who is seven, asked me this morning, “Can you wait? Can you stand it? Christmas is tomorrow.” And I cannot wait either for I love Christmas, ever more the older I grow. The story of the birth of Jesus Christ from Luke 2, which I always hear in the voice of Linus from the “Charlie Brown Christmas Special,” permeates the Season. The ACLU may not like it, but the name it is the Christ Mass. It is in the name. No wonder secularists get grouchy at this time of year. Even Santa is based on a Christian saint clever enough to beat them in any argument and tough enough to punch them in their red noses. Frank Rich, a New York Times project, was disturbed to discover that more Americans believed in the Virgin Birth than in Darwin. He assumes that all of Red State America has become irrational because it believes in such a miracle and rejects Darwinism. As usual Rich has confused his taste for the truth. Like most people, Rich has picked his miracles based on necessity and not based on reason.Darwinism is implausible, highly unlikely. Darwinists believe that nature is all there is, was, or ever will be. True Darwinism does not allow for purposefulness to be seen and known in science. It makes science blind. To all intents and purposes, Darwinism is naturalism applied. If there is a God, then God could have used any number of ways to create. If there is no God, then something like Darwinism must be true. The American establishment, secularist to the last man, must defend their only possible creation account with all their might. So Rich, a secularist in Catholic clothing, must defend most hoary Victorian science while stripping his religion of anything that would offend his real masters in the smart circles. His pope is the consensus of the beautiful people, who speak ex cathedra when the editor of the New York Times decides what is fit to print.Darwinism saves naturalism. However, naturalism is saved at the expense of humanity. It makes goodness, truth, and beauty either unreal or unknowable. It closes God out of the universe, but can only do so by reducing man to nothing. Personhood is lost when the Great Person is expelled. In the end, Darwinism is a miracle invoked to save a worldview that denies miracles.All of civilization, what ever it claims about itself, faces a dead end without Christmas. There can be no “Happy Holidays” without there first being a “Merry Christmas.” Humanity faces a problem and any sensible thinker knows we cannot save ourselves. Of course, liberals thought more money, more freedom, more government controlled education, a Monsanto House of the Future would save us, but they were wrong. Rich people, even ones who work for the New York Times, are not made happy by their comfort. We need God and in our hearts we know He is there, because He has not been silent.The birth of Jesus is sensible, the rational account if the God of the Old Testament is who He said He is. It is a great intervention of the Rational into the world He made. It is a miracle in the sense we could not have done it, but it is all part of His nature. We could not have made Him do it, but we needed it. Darwinists must believe in a miracle based merely on their need. We believe in a miracle that is based on the loving nature of the Divine Person we worship.It is a great miracle, but it is the miracle we needed. If Christ had not been born of Mary hope would have been lost and the West would have failed. Classical civilization had come to the end of its resources. Everything had been said or done that could be said or done. Rome had conquered, but Rome lacked a soul. Something miraculous, or someone miraculous was needed. Virgil spoke of it darkly. Plato needed it.Plato believed all humanity, all of us, were trapped in a cave. We believe the shadow things, the tricks of sight created by our civilization, are the things we need. If we only had a new car, if the Red Sox won the World Series, if John Kerry were only President, then we would be happy. This is nonsense for every time the Frank Rich gets what he wants it is only to discover that it is no good. It is not what he wants, but he quickly moves on to the next clever scheme, indispensable object, or bright idea manufactured by his masters.Even Frank Rich must know, in the dark when he is alone, that there is something greater out there. He must know that the Good cannot be bought, the Beautiful is not subject to his criticism, and that Truth will not evolve to fit the mandates of the Democrat Party platform. However, these great Ideas are beyond our reach. None of us can bring them down to Earth, they are utterly other.Good news! We do not have to bring them down. The way to them, the divine Logos, Jesus Christ came down. Mary had a son who was God with us. God with us. We are not alone. We are not trapped anymore if we wish to be free. Of course, we must reject an empty universe and give up the presumption that unaided human reason can produce utopia. But surely, after the twentieth century, that is not giving up too much?The children are back and the house is returning to life. Children, at least mine, are sign posts to Christmas. Jane’s joyful face is an icon of Jesus to me. It is no accident that secularism soon stops having children. The Dutch love death and so fertility flees them. Simple folk, like Socrates or Plato, saw something better. They saw that they could not save themselves and so they hoped for a message, even from a man who died and then came back to life again. The message came. Christmas reminds us of it.Christmas, dear Jane, is tomorrow. Christ is born! Christ is coming again. There is joy in the morning. We will go to midnight mass and sing carols for the first time. Advent is over and Christ is born of Mary.So give gifts! Feast and do not fast! Rejoice!This is a Holy Night, the forerunner of the blessed morning to come. My prayer book reminds me, “Tomorrow or ever the sun be risen, ye shall have help. Tomorrow the iniquity of the earth shall be done away. And the Savior of the world shall reign over us.” I cannot wait for Christmas.

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