Now that you are relaxed after the shopping, the selling, the stores, the songs, the torn gift wrap, the opened boxes, the food, the dinner, the cards, the calls, the exhaustion, the satisfaction, the tears, the happiness, the sorrow, the children, the family, the friends, the snow, the heat, the tree, the lights… remember what happened 2015 years ago.
It’s an epic tale of wonder, horror, and the birth of a child and the West.
Imperial troops dispatched to kill a rumored new born king yet unborn of a kingdom yet to be determined. Astrologer/Kings hunched over their star charts and camels as celestial portents and a strange bright new light from the heavens hovers over the Davidian city of Bethlehem. An enraged monarch unable to locate with specificity the birth site orders the children from two and under executed. Rocky fields watched over by low born shepherds with their flocks of sheep are visited by heavenly messengers with news of the location of the child king whose kingdom is yet to come. Wise men with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, bow in awe alongside the shepherds stinking of their charges and their nights asleep under the stars. A flight through desert roads to safety by the young mother and father to save their child.
Modern science and Hollywood dream factories try to fabricate stories of wonders filled with hovercraft, gizmos, evil lords, young men and women coming of age, intergalactic battles with ships that sail the skies not the oceans, yet what happened 2015 years ago in desert lands, among tribes in servitude to an imperial regime, remains unmatched. That’s because it was not only a child that was born that night. A civilization was born too.
The birth of that boy king, became the birth certificate of the West. A Jewish boy, living in the Roman Empire which itself descended from the city of Troy and tales from the Homeric legends, everything that bursts forth in the warehouses we call museums all our theories and blueprints of architecture, our governance, our music, our art, it’s what we call the West. And it was all born in that little manger in that little city of David.
The Judaeo-Christian traditions and our notions of right and wrong, good and evil, everything that came before and since all wrapped up in swaddling clothes. The dates might not be exact, it might not have been in December, the Julian Calendars and the Gregorian timelines might have muddled things a bit, but yes, the birth certificate of the West and that little child are pretty much one and the same.
Merry Christmas to all.