Christ born again, wishing you each & every blessing this holy tide

[ by Charles Cameron — wishing to avoid the excesses of piety and secularism, to get once more to the heart of the Christmas message, refreshed ]

.

How shall we get past the tired commerical imagery of 80% off, the pious religiosity of religious hucksters, and cleanse our image of the Christ-Mass to seee him afresh?

One way I have found is to travel abroad:

Mughal Madonna and child attributed to Manohar or Basawan

Seen with fresh eyes, the ancient image of the sacred, royal child and pure mother shines anew.

Or take this Ethiopic image of the flight into Egypt — unusual to our eyes, yet utterly appropriate for the flight to Egypt to be represented to us by a Ethiopic artist..

Ethiopic, flight into Egypt

And how gently, with a finger’s touch, this angel from Autun cathedral wakes the three wise men (magi), here shown as three kings:

**

Ah, music!

Perhaps JS Bach’s Christmas Oratorio BWV 248 can carry conviction where a statement of faith, constructed entirely in words and lacking the flourishes of trumpets, must always fail to push past our secular sensibilities into glory:

Nikolaus Harnoncourt directing the Concentus Musicus Wien, performing the first 3 parts if Bach’s triumphant Christmas Oratorio

Or a very different voice, declaring the humble birth in a stable outside an inn — yet with its own indubitable trumpets:

Mahalia!

**

Hell — heaven! I personally wish all those who read this post on Zenpundit a happy / blessed Christmas..

I’m thinking of you Jim Gant, Tim Furnish, J Scott Shipman, Mark ZP, Grurray, PR Beckman, David Ronfeldt, Howard Rheingold, Mark Osiecki, Kate Gilpin, Anne and Tom Merino, David and Emlyn Cameron, Susan Uskudarli — so many of you..

11 comments on this post.
  1. Jim Gant:

    Charles, And a happy and blessed Christmas, holiday season and 2018 to you…What a wonderful post. Thank you…to get ‘at the heart of the Christian message’…is of course so difficult yet so easy. It is what I call the ‘supreme simplicity’. It is oh so hard to truly grasp, to truly understand, to truly apply in one’s life. Yet the message and the meaning behind the message is so simple. “Be good, do good. Be with.” As you point out – one way to see the Christian message afresh is to travel abroad. My study of the major religions of the world has given me a much different (and better) understanding of my own beliefs. A Christian, yes. A Christian Universalist to be more specific. My recent study of Buddhism including reading large portions of the ‘Buddhist Scriptures’ as well as ‘Living Buddha, Living Christ” by Thich Nhat Hanh and a trip to China and more specifically the Labrang Monastery (one of the six great monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism) brought so many things into focus. But again, knowing what to do is sometimes easy – doing it can be vastly more difficult. So I will continue along the spiritual path and would very much like you to continue to be an advisor and mentor for me…I value your insight. You open my eyes to many things and you open your heart regularly for us all on ‘Zenpundit’ to read. Thank you again for that. My prayer for you is one of hope, happiness and health. Your friend and ally, Jim

  2. Jim Gant:

    From a book called, “Life and Teaching” written 1924 by Baird Spalding,” The Masters accept that Buddha represents the Way to Enlightenment, but they clearly set forth that Christ IS Enlightenment, or a state of consciousness for which we are all seeking – the Christ light of every individual; therefore, the light of every child that is born into the world.”
    .
    Handel’s Messiah: A Child Is Born:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFBIJgkj_-g
    .
    Take care Charles, may peace be with you…
    Jim

  3. Charles Cameron:

    Here’s another Christmas refresher — by AE Stallings.

    First Miracle

    .
    Her body like a pomegranate torn
    Wide open, somehow bears what must be born,
    .
    The irony where a stranger small enough
    To bed down in the ox-tongue-polished trough
    .
    Erupts into the world and breaks the spell
    Of the ancient, numbered hours with his yell.
    .
    Now her breasts ache and weep and soak her shirt
    Whenever she hears his hunger or his hurt;
    .
    She can’t change water into wine; instead
    She fashions sweet milk out of her own blood.

  4. Charles Cameron:

    An Orthodox Christian chant , This Christmas Troparion or Byzantine Hymn ,is written by the incomparable St. Romanos the Melodist, shortly after a vision of the Mother of God:
    .

  5. Charles Cameron:

    New Year’s, rather nicely, doesn’t belong to anyone, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or otherwise. We might think of it as an atheist feast, or pehaps agnostic — or purely calendrical, void of all symbolism but the turning of a leaf, the turn of a year.
    .
    But for the devout, the money-minded, it is surely one of the sacred days in the tax calendar, with people scrambling to file their 2018 property taxes in 1917, nicht wahr? n’est-ce pas? ain’t it so?
    .
    Say it ain’t so!
    .
    Let’s leave it as a vastly agnostic holidy — agnostic as to Buddhism, Christianity, Yule, atheism, even agnosticism itself.
    .
    How’s that for an ouroboros?

  6. Charles Cameron:

    St Thomas More, as quoted in this recent comment where further comments atere now closed:

    any man against whom it can be proved that he is a maker of sedition is outside the law of God and Empire, so that the first who can slay him is doing right and well

    Interesting that this is precisely the same order of argument as that used by Yigal Amir for killing Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin — and in its essence the Phineas argument, as found in Numbers 25..
    .
    It’s fascinating, to me at least, to see a great proto-modern legal authority make the claim that there is a higher law thn the law itself, and that it extends to righteous assassinations — Thoreau also claims there is a law that can supercede the law, but civil disobedience doesn’t usually extend to murder.
    .
    Am I unbelievably naive to find these ideas new and striking?
    .

  7. David Ronfeldt:

    Indeed, Charles — and others too — Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Onward.

  8. Charles Cameron:

    Thank you, David — and a Happy New Year to you and yours.

  9. Scott:

    Addressing this: “New Year’s, rather nicely, doesn’t belong to anyone, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or otherwise.”
    .
    Indeed. The Jewish and the Chinese, for example, have New Years celebrations that don’t even coincide with ours! And as a descendant of Celtic forebears, I still like to observe the turning of the Wheel of the Year….

    Happy New Year to all of you, and may it bring great blessings!

  10. Grurray:

    As a Reformed Neo-Platonist, I prefer to celebrate Capodanno Bizantino on September 1.

  11. Charles Cameron:

    Oh, well then I withdraw any and all of my blessings in your honored direction — pending Sept 1, 2018, when they will swing into full effect!

Leave a comment