The Once and Future King
One of my favorite books is The Once and Future King by T.H. White. It’s about King Arthur. It’s also about life. I heartily recommend it to anyone and everyone. Here are two quotes from the book that help me to collect my thoughts about the Advent and Christmas seasons. I want to share them with you.
Quote One: “Might does not make right! Right makes right!”
There is so much that is so right about Christmas. For one thing look at the role might plays. None. Or, to put that another way, it plays a very negative and destructive role, as Herod the Great looms in the background threatening Jesus and (if the biblical story is to be believed) killing all of those innocent children he sees as a threat to his power. And why not believe the bible? World rulers to this day kill innocent children because they deem them a threat to power. Our own economic and political systems ignore, and all too often harm and exploit, children in contemptible ways.
It is somehow so right that God—GOD—chose to be born a child in a marginalized family in a marginal place. Now, I don’t mean to romanticize marginalization. I am sure it was no fun for Joseph or Mary or for that matter their newborn child to be mere pawns in an imperial initiative that rendered them homeless, aliens. But they were also—and far more importantly—part of another initiative: that of God reaching out to, and into, the world.
That’s an initiative we are all blessed to be a part of. And that is so very right!
Quote Two: “Further back, there were times when we wondered with all our souls
what he world was, what love was, what we were ourselves.”
Advent—those four weeks leading up to Christmas—is a time for reflection and wonder. The bottom line of the Christmas story—that God, GOD, is born, BORN, as a child—is more than enough to summon just this sort of reflection in which we, and I pray all, wonder “with all our souls what the world [is], what
love [is], what we [are] ourselves.”
The thing about Advent, and the way it frames Christmas, is that it changes all the past tenses into presents and futures. When reflecting on the Christmas story one cannot help but jump from the past to the present. If Advent teaches us nothing else, it is that the “was” is an “is” or, at least, a could be.
“Further back, there were times when we wondered with all our souls what the world was, what love was, what we were ourselves.” That may be true in The Once and Future King. But as regards God’s love for the world and God reaching out to, and into, the world, “further back” is just ahead. Advent calls you to stop and wonder. And when you do, be ready to move ahead. God is calling!
God’s Blessings this Advent and Christmas Season (and Beyond)
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