Monday, September 17, 2012

Advent (written in 2009)

I’ve been wanting to feel something concerning this Advent. I chant. I kneel. I pray in expectation. I even looked intensely at my Christmas tree and saw streams of blood in a golden twinkling universe, but no baby.

I peruse liberal blogs to learn about extreme opinions. Something rattled me to the point where I actually thought writing something in response on the internet was a worthwhile endeavor. Certain couples don’t believe in the use of birth control out of religious conviction. However weird that may seem to Christians and non-Christians alike, they have several thousand years of church history to show for support. A couple has recently been in the news because they gave birth to their eighteenth child and there’s a TLC special about it. My thoughts regarding reality programming aside, it was my belief they had the right to do as they pleased.

The amount of venom I saw spewed at this family was appalling. Because in the name of “caring for the earth” these people joked about forced sterilization, abortions, and murder. Some strongly advocated it. The words of Flannery O’Connor became startlingly clear: tenderness divorced from its source leads to the gas chambers. This family wastes resources supporting human life and their religious ethic, and therefore should be destroyed.

It didn’t come into full focus until I heard mention of children of leukemia on television. They have made no measurable impact on society. They “drain” resources, millions of dollars, to attempt cures that are probably impossible, or at very least ease their pain and suffering so they can enjoy longer days learning, laughing, and loving with their friends and family. They are just alive, but that is not enough for some in the name of responsibility. The logic that leads one to destroy a large family also leads one to destroy the weak.

I do not advocate destroying the earth because God’s going to give us a new one anyway. My family attempts to live an eco-friendly life, and I wish I could make greater sacrifices in that regard. The greatest drain on our resources is insisting on constant use of electricity, fossil fuels, and forest destruction for the sake of “progress.” It is not family. We traded family for material means, and now that the earth is being destroyed we blame families rather than materialism.

Underneath the family Christmas tree is a gift bag with a Byzantine icon of the nativity. The Child is framed in the classic golden halo that indicates divinity. He is born to a teenage mother out of wedlock in an impoverished setting. He has come to say all things are held together in Him, and without Him we can do nothing. He has come to take us into His hand, and no one may pluck us out. Life, breath, trees, lights, smiles, children, parents, the aged, all of have meaning.

The Child is under the tree, and I see Him now. The bloody universe pulses around Him, groaning for release and twinkling with His life. The icon is misleading in its cleanliness. Birth’s not tidy because love never is. Not this side of heaven. We cry for life in this vale of tears. In the heights of our hypocrisy we make these cries as we murder each other and the gifts He has given.

Kyrie Eleison
Christe Eleison
Kyrie Eleison

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