Merry Christmas

Christmas Card

When the white stars talk together like sisters
And when the winter hills
Raise their grand semblance in the freezing night,
Somewhere one window
Bleeds like the brown eye of an open force.

Hills, stars.
White stars that stand above the eastern stable.

Look down and offer Him
The dim adoring light of your belief
Whose small Heart bleeds with infinite fire.

Shall not this Child
(When we shall hear the bells of His amazing voice)
Conquer the winter of our hateful century? 

And when His Lady Mother leans upon the crib,
Lo, with what rapiers
Those two loves fence and flame their brilliancy! 

Here in this straw lie planned the fires
That will melt all our sufferings:
He is our Lamb, our holocaust! 

And one by one the shepherds, with their snowy feet,
Stamp and shake out their hats upon the stable dirt,
And one by one kneel down to look upon their Life. 

  • Thomas Merton

Inconvenient Murders

This is from Bari Weiss at the New York Times, so those of you who (understandably) despair of the paper might glean some hope from this column.

The theme is that Jew-hatred is surging and yet Jewish victimhood does not command attention or inspire popular outrage. That unless Jews are murdered by neo-Nazis, the one group everyone of conscience recognizes as evil, Jews’ inconvenient murders, their beatings, their discrimination, the singling out of their state for demonization will be explained away.

It is, as I’ve often said, amusing (in a dark, sad way) to listen to leftists pretend they care about Jews. Of course, as Weiss points out, this happens only when Jews are attacked by those on the right. It is somewhat akin to the pretend concern for the Kurds of so many on the left. They never cared about them in 2003, during the invasion of Iraq, but now that Trump has abandoned them, they matter (at least for a few minutes).

Remembrance Day

A day late but always important to mark this date. Please see my other website and enjoy this song, “The D-Day Dodgers.” It is sung to the tune of “Lili Marlene” and refers to the dismissive attitude so many had toward the Allied Forces in Italy. With the “glamour” and headlines of June 6, 1944, they were overlooked, though their sacrifices were every bit as extraordinary, their battles as harsh, their courage as strong. (My uncle, in his letters, refers several times to his friend George Yente/s – or Lente/s – who was sending him letters from the front in Italy.)

How Canada has Changed

Today marks the 40th anniverary of the hostage taking at the American Embassy in Tehran. It got me to thinking about the day the hostages were released: I was in high school, and I think I was in some sort of choir practice because I seem to remember it was after regular school hours and an announcement came over the PA that the American hostages were on their way home. We cheered! The whole group of us kids cheered, as did our teachers.

I wonder what the reaction would be now, in a typical Canadian high school, to the same news. I don’t think there would be the same feeling of solidarity with the United States. It’s very sad, but anti-Americanism (which existed then but was nothing like what it is now) has absolutely permeated every aspect of Canadian life (note especially media and education). The narcissism of small differences takes centre stage.

It’s certainly true that back then Canada had helped save a group of American hostages, through the courage of Ken Taylor. So perhaps that is why we kids felt connected – but I think it was more. Regarding the U.S. with contempt has become our default position – always assuming that somehow they “deserve” it when bad things befall them, always assuming that we are superior and safe from the same threats. I had hoped that his attitude had reached peak stupidity after 9-11, but I suspect it is currently worse. One could argue that Donald Trump hasn’t helped, but I think the contempt runs deeper. It is bread and butter to us.

Oh, I know there are exceptions (I am one of them), but they are just that.  It makes me tremendously sad that this sophomoric world view has become so deeply entrenched.

Go Rest High on that Mountain

Today is the anniversary of my brother’s death. Of course, I miss him and all the more so when something happens that I would love to discuss with him, or when a movie or TV show is on that I know he would love. This has certainly been the case with Ken Burns’ wonderful Country Music series on PBS. Alan loved country, and he would have adored this series. I thought of him during each episode, and imagined how great it would have been for him to call me up – as he used to – and chat with me about it.

In tribute to my brother, I offer you, dear readers, a song I hadn’t known before watching the series. (I will bet Alan knew it, though.) Get out your Kleenex.