The Light at the End of the Yule Blog
Published on: January 6, 2010
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  • Beth

    Thank you for a most enriching series on the 12 Days of Christmas, I have enjoyed each and every one. Some were thought provoking, some I giggled with glee over and others simply resonated.

  • Helen Brotemarkle

    Many, Many thanks for your Yule Blog. I have enjoyed it very much.

  • Hmm, never thought it could be like this…. very strange

  • Luke Lea

    Really quite wonderful series of posts. You should write more in this vein — or maybe not. Hard to top. Anyway s I try to get across to my atheist friends and family, belief, or rather faith, in the Hebraic Idea of God is not an epistemological issue. Rather it is a matter of admitting the possibility that there is meaning and purpose in our lives and in human history, which otherwise would be without significance and therefore unfulfilling, at least for those of us with a religious temperament.

    Of course each of us has our own particular take — and needs? — as to what that meaning is, but the notion that there is more than meets the eye is essential, and has been since the fall of Jerusalem.

    e.g., here is Eliot’s Journey of the Magi

    “A cold coming we had of it,
    Just the worst time of the year
    For a journey, and such a long journey:
    The was deep and the weather sharp,
    The very dead of winter.”
    And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
    Lying down in the melting snow.
    There were times we regretted
    The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
    And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
    Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
    And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
    And the night-fires gong out, and the lack of shelters,
    And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
    And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.:
    A hard time we had of it.
    At the end we preferred to travel all night,
    Sleeping in snatches,
    With the voices singing in our ears, saying
    That this was all folly.

    Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
    Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
    With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
    And three trees on the low sky,
    And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
    Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
    Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
    And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
    But there was no information, and so we continued
    And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
    Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

    All this was a long time ago, I remember,
    And I would do it again, but set down
    This set down
    This: were we lead all that way for
    Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
    We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,
    But had thought they were different; this Birth was
    Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
    We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
    But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
    With an alien people clutching their gods.
    I should be glad of another death.

  • Luke Lea

    Above I should have written, “Rather it is a matter of admitting — and staking our lives on — the possibility . . .”

  • Pingback: Do Jeffersonians Exist? - Walter Russell Mead's Blog - The American Interest()

  • This pudding has no theme! I love that. Good post Walter. Made me think about Christmas quite differently.

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