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December 26, 2005

The Nativity of the Christ

Sometimes monologues can entrance those who encounter them already in progress. Apart from whatever humor or passion (or both) the author and actor are able to impart, periodic evidence of the intended audience and the gradual accumulation of context can make the unfolding of the implied plot feel like a revelatory discovery — particularly when one encounters the monologue on the radio, which provides no additional clues than the tinctures of the voice.

Such was the case some Christmases back when, while walking the dog, I discerned that the man on the radio was supposed to be a farmer of some sort. In telling his wife (I assume) of a fantastical dream that he'd had just before entering their home, he realized that it had not been a dream. Indeed, he'd walked into their house to get some blankets because the messiah had just been born in their barn.

To be sure, the actor was of sufficient talent that I've sacrificed much of the effect in my retelling. The sense of wonder in his voice was palpable, and his giddiness was reminiscent — forgive my mind the easy comparison made both then and now — of Scrooge upon waking to a Christmas morn. And with that crescendo of elated drama came the thought that among the obstacles keeping moderns from faith in Christ is the excessively limited scope that the New Testament stories appear to have. It confounds expectations that so significant a person as the Son of God — God Himself — would be born into the world without the entire planet's shaking.

A few minutes' consideration will yield the conclusion that millennia are but moments to an eternal God, and the entire world has shaken, as it were, in response to Jesus' birth. Still, much as with a foggy, rainy day after Christmas, there's something not altogether satisfying about observing the feel of a special day fade as life goes on.

More minutes' consideration may bring the recollection that the story of Jesus' birth is hardly without action, what with the appearances of angels, Herod's slaughtering of innocent children, and the various other incidents. I wonder whether we've diluted the drama of Christmas in order to accommodate an intended audience of children and a preferred message of peace — even tranquility.

The cultural manipulations of the Christmas season have created a particular feel that I, for one, would be loathe to discard. The greed and overdoneness ought to be discarded, but the simplicity of good will and the plain striving for giddiness deserve preservation, at least as undercurrents. Nonetheless, I've no doubt that a new movie could become an instant holiday classic by presenting Christ's birth with all the cosmic drama and thematic emphasis that cinematic art is able to muster. The gore and gut-wrenching scenes of The Passion of the Christ would be out of place, of course, but the key idea would be a potent gift to our society: to bring Jesus to life for a society that no longer understands much of what its culture has handed down.

In the meantime, may Christmas carry sufficient significance for you that the feeling doesn't fade over the coming weeks and months.

Posted by Justin Katz at December 26, 2005 11:05 PM

When you say millenia are like moments to God, I am reminded of the beautiful posts on The Holy Inheritance blog site. Even this morning it says neither time nor season means anything in eternity.

Posted by: A Christian Prophet at December 27, 2005 11:24 AM

Hey, surfed in off of Michelle Malkin's site.
I just started my own Conservative slash parody blog and I'd love to exchange links with you.
Let me know what you think, either comment back at my site
or email me back and let me know.
Thanks in advance and keep fighting the good fight

Posted by: Patrick at December 27, 2005 7:58 PM