Contemplating the Coming of a

Contemplating the Coming of a Child…

An angel:

Don’t be frightened, Mary, for God has decided to bless you! You will become pregnant and have a son, and you are to name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!

Mary:

I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened–
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all
others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them
high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.

Another angel (or maybe the same one):

Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master.

Charles Wesley, 1744:

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Various poets and such:

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Translated by John M. Neale, 1851

Aurelius Prudentius, 5th Century:

O that birth forever blessèd, when the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving, bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face, evermore and evermore!

This is He Whom seers in old time chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord, evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him; angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him, and extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing, evermore and evermore!

Christ, to Thee with God the Father, and, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving, and unwearied praises be:
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory, evermore and evermore!

Translated by John M. Neale & Henry W. Baker

Christina Rossetti, 1872:

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, Whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, Whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Placide Clappeau, 1847:

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy Name!
Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!

Translated by John S. Dwight

A guy named John:

The true light that shines on everyone was coming into the world. But although the world was made through him, the world didn’t recognize him when he came. He came into his own world, but his own nation did not welcome him. Yet some people accepted him and put their faith in him. So he gave them the right to be the children of God. They were not God’s children by nature or because of any human desires. God himself was the one who made them his children. So the Word became flesh and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father.

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This piece by Mark Steyn

This piece by Mark Steyn in the Daily Telegraph (London) is just good reading. He offers one of the more persuasive and pointed indictments of all of the pundits with nothing to lose who exist to mock Bush and his allies at every turn. It’s brilliantly written, and there are some nice shots at Saddam, his international protectors, and all the other charlatans trying to play Gandhi. If you’ve been reading here since the beginning, you know I had my share of questions about the war, but I’m no admirer of the hypocritical jacktorches in France, Germany, Russia, etc.

Steyn also suggests Condi Rice will follow Bush in the White House. The idea of a woman as president probably still makes a few of you nervous, but do not dismiss this very real probability — Hillary will be the Democratic candidate in ’08, and she will be very capable of winning. She won’t be running against an incumbent, which plays to her advantage. So, if you don’t like the idea of President Clinton II, who would you rather throw in the ring with her — the next white male Republican who will accent all of what makes Hillary appealing to many or Condi Rice? It’s still five years away and a lot can happen between now and then (including an election in ’04), but nominating Condi in ’08 could prove to be one of the most deft and genius maneuvers in the history of American politics. Just as the Dems prove how progressive and forward-thinking they are by nominating the first female major party candidate in the history of presidential politics, the elephants send Rice, who’s not only a woman, but is black (which would make her the first black presidential candidate of any gender) in to bat cleanup. And, if you don’t know much about Rice, just know this — she’s probably the smartest person in the room every time the senior administration circles up. I’m pretty sure I’d vote for her ten times out of ten over most of the W/M cheese-eaters both parties tend to pimp.

Anyway, read the article. It’s good.

Man, it’s been a long time since I got this political.

Amy woke me up around

Amy woke me up around 8:00 this morning so I could look at the weather and decide if she should start getting ready for church. There was already quite a bit of snow on the ground, and it was coming down fast. It was the small, wet snow which makes the roads particularly slick. I called the church and everything was canceled, which saved me from having to choose between church and the comfort of a warm, snow-free home. Anyway, when she came to wake me, she asked me to come check out the weather. As I laid there trying to shake off the haze of having been up until around 2:00 and figure out some way to answer her question without having to actually rise from the bed, she mentioned in sort of an oh-by-the-way tone, “They caught Saddam Hussein.” Oh…..by the way.

So, after I discovered church was canceled, I ended up laying in bed for an hour or more watching coverage of the spider hole and the beard and the parties in the streets of Baghdad. Then I slept a little more. Then I woke up and watched some more coverage as I checked for breaking NFL news so I could finalize my lineups for my three fantasy teams in the playoffs. I don’t usually get all that caught up in the news-o-the-day, but this has been nice. One of the really bad dudes actually got cheesed. Of all that I saw and heard today, here are my top three thoughts and observations:

  • Eventually, they’ve gotta teach the newly freed Iraqi people that bottle rockets are far more appropriate celebratory devices than AK-47s. I mean, in most places in the US you can’t even shoot bottle rockets in the city limits, and these cats are in the streets firing Russian machine guns into the air like it’s the first day of dove season in West Texas. They say several people were killed by stray shells when this happened after Baghdad fell. I know it’s early, but that seems like a lesson the new Iraqi leadership might want to push toward the top of the agenda. Well, that and maybe a little bit of gun control…or maybe a “well-regulated Militia” in Iraq includes automatic rifles. I think I’d want one if I lived in Baghdad.

  • My favorite visual of the day was the reaction of the Iraqi journalists at the news conference when the video of Saddam lit up the screen. Think about the many layers of that moment. Here are guys doing a job that wasn’t even legal under Saddam, now free to report and write the truth…guys who probably had friends and family tortured and murdered by this guy and his assorted under-thugs…guys who, even though they were there to do the jobs they’ve been waiting decades to do, couldn’t contain their emotions. Not only did their jobs become an afterthought, but suddenly the other reporters, each of whom was probably covering the biggest moment they’ll ever cover in their careers, turned their attention from the startling images of Saddam on the screen and the information being shared by Bremer and Sanchez to their colleagues who were jumping up and down, shouting their “greetings” to Saddam on the video screen. They got them calmed down (sort of), but they could only sit still for short periods of time. Every now and then they’d have to jump up and holler a little more. It was great. Good thing for everyone else in the room that they weren’t packing AKs. I have a feeling that, even though they were yelling at the screen, Saddam heard them wherever he was. I’ve probably seen that footage ten times today, and I still smile and laugh every time I see it.

  • There are obviously about a billion articles already online about all of this, but this one about the confrontation between Saddam and four members of the new Iraqi Governing Council is the best one I’ve read. What a scene…

Following Mr. Hussein’s capture — in an eight-foot hole that one council member said was filled with “rats and mice”— the four council members were taken by helicopter this afternoon to a military base, at a site they would not disclose. Two other council members, in addition to Mr. Rubaie and Dr. Chalabi, were aboard: Adnan Pachachi, the foreign minister before Mr. Hussein came to power; and Adel Abdel Mahdi, who represents the Shia religious body, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

Two of Iraq’s other new leaders were there, too: L. Paul Bremer III, the American civilian administrator of Iraq; and Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of ground forces in Iraq. The room was small, Mr. Rubaie said, and General Sanchez asked the men if they would like to see him through a window or by camera.

“We said, `No, we want to talk to him,’ ” Mr. Rubaie said.

And here’s a nice sample of what went down…

Mr. Rubaie said: “One thing which is very important is that this man had with him underground when they arrested him two AK-47’s and did not shoot one bullet. I told him, `You keep on saying that you are a brave man and a proud Arab.’ I said, `When they arrested you why didn’t you shoot one bullet? You are a coward.’

“And he started to use very colorful language. Basically, he used all his French.”

Mr. Rubaie added: “I was so angry because this guy has caused so much damage. He has ruined the whole country. He has ruined 25 million people.

“And I have to confess that the last word was for me: I was the last to leave the room and I said, `May God curse you. Tell me, when are you going to be accountable to God and the day of judgment? What are you going to tell Him about Halabja and the mass graves, the Iran-Iraq war, thousands and thousands executed? What are you going to tell God?’ He was exercising his French language.”

I have a feeling Mr. Rubaie enjoyed using the word “French” in that context. Read the whole article (the NYT website requires registration, but it’s free, takes about ten seconds, and they don’t send you any junk. It’s worth it.)

Oh, and I’ve definitely won two of my three fantasy games. Barring a career night by Donovan McNabb tomorrow in Miami, I’ll be in the Superbowl in all three of my fantasy leagues. Just because I know that kind of information is important to you…

TGIF….right?…The National Weather Service Has

TGIF….right?

…The National Weather Service Has Issued A Winter Storm Warning For Tonight And Saturday…

Snow Will Develop This Morning And Will Become Heavy At Times Tonight And Saturday, With Snowfall Rates Of 1 To 3 Inches Per Hour. Total Snow Accumulations Of 12 To 18 Inches Can Be Expected By Late Saturday Afternoon. The Snow Will Diminish To Snow Showers Saturday Evening.

This Is A Dangerous Winter Storm. Very Heavy Snowfall Is Expected In The Warning Area. The Snow Will Rapidly Accumulate…Producing Snow Covered And Slippery Roads…And Significantly Reducing Visibilities. Travel Will Become Treacherous…And Is Strongly Discouraged.

So, anyone planning to drop in on us this weekend might want to reconsider.