At Christmas, Love amplifies, powerful and lifting, scrabbling through the dark mess of tangle. Care and pardon affirm, anchoring you, there, in other Hearts – disgrace yields, grace overcomes. Love finds its way. At Christmas, the first steps within the incarnation are taken; a betrothed groom and fiancée making the best of things, travel within a colonized Israel to add their names within a census, a decision perhaps that may have to do with the practicality in it being safer to identify as a family with what will follow from the census; the fiancée is pregnant, a surprise to the groom and his betrothed. Are the two young? Is Joseph older and knowing something of how to live a Life within this colonized world? Is he prepared for this night? A makeshift moment allows the two to shelter among animals in a barn or cave. Mary moves into labour, a baby is born, a new Life that becomes central to a grand narrative we all are participating in. The name Joseph is first used with Jacob’s wife Rachel, when she conceives and bears a son after many years barren; Joseph literally means ‘he who takes my shame away.’
All this and more become the Christmas story. A few songs tell the story well; but, the one that might best fit today’s times and needs could be that provided by Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds in ‘Christmas Song.’ I like the conceptualization of any of us as ‘soul-searchers.’ The blood of the children reference is, while scary, accurate within this song – blood covers sins; Christ’s blood was shed for all to overcome their/our sin-state and thereby becomes the blood of the children referred to within the song.
The incarnation is an inconceivable event, something that needs more acceptance than figuring. You need to involve your imagination in such reckoning as precursor to such an event in preparation to be able to recognize when and if such an event does happen, has happened or will happen. You’d have to consider how involving God here on earth might play out.
The song that brought this kind of precursor imagining about best was a Joan Osborne, grunge-rock tune, that I heard most helpfully sung by Martyn Joseph on Radio Ulster’s ‘Rhythm and Soul’; thank you to Presbyterian Pastor, Steve Stockman for bringing all of that about. Here’s Martyn’s version.
Here’s the Joan Osborne version of ‘One of Us.’
Quote to Consider – “The camera doesn’t make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But you have to SEE.” – Ernest Haas
Listening to – Martyn Joseph’s ‘Beyond Us, ‘Not a Good Time for God’ and Martyn’s take on Bruce Springsteen’s ‘If I Should Fall Behind’ and ‘One Step Up.’ Also, taking a listen to Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Highway Patrolman.’
There’s a lot of grace encountered in ‘Highway Patrolman;’ Springsteen goes on to tell that it deals with family, responsibility and duty when those things conflict. The lyrics are good dealing with brothers sharing good times as much as the morality involved in dealing with a brother who is straying – lyrics catching my attention follow ….
“Well if it was any other man, I’d put him straight away
But when it’s your brother sometimes you look the other way.”
“Me and Frankie laughin’ and drinkin’
Nothin’ feels better than blood on blood
Takin’ turns dancin’ with Maria
As the band played “Night of the Johnstown Flood”
I catch him when he’s strayin’, teach him how to walk that line
Man turns his back on his family he ain’t no friend of mine.”
May you find Grace this Christmas – my gratitude goes out to each of you who have been part of each step and evolution of this photoblog. Thank you – take good care of your good selves.