Marita Vargas
A Christmas message for 2011
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By Marita Vargas
December 24, 2011

We spend our lives ignoring the angels whispering in our ears, never imagining the comfort, guidance, and inspiration they bring — except on this one night. On this one night, on Christmas night, we join in the song of the angels. We get the words right. We get the spirit right. We accept the joy that might be ours any given day.

We get it right because on that first Christmas night, the angels did not whisper, they shouted; and their words were ravishingly beautiful. Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men," a multitude of the heavenly host shouted, and the heavens could not contain their song.

And if we truly understood their words, the earth could not contain our own song; the Christmas bells would never stop ringing, and we would sing our merry carols all the yearlong. But at least for a season we seem to remember that on that night when Heaven touched earth, it touched each one of us, everyone ever born and to be born, in our time and down through the ages, forever more and ever more — for we all need a savior.

And, despite the fact that we have grown hard of hearing, the carols remind us of something more. In our singing we are doing the angels one better; we are doing what they cannot do. We who have not seen God are praising him along with the angels who have seen him. They know; while we walk by faith. And in our walk we are turning the heavenly host green with envy; but then, is not green a jolly Christmas color? Their envy, after all, is akin to that which an older brother feels when he watches a younger sibling pull off a marvelous feat. With only creation as our witness, and our own poor reason and senses to guide us, we join with the heavenly hosts to sing praises to the unseen God — and they applaud us.

And it is even more marvelous still that in the message first given to us by the angels some two thousand years ago there is more than the promise of a savior who would free us from our sins, as great as that is; but a further promise of peace to all people. The angels got it right; theirs was an understanding of realpolitik: Peace can only be ours when we all share in the peace that surpasses all understanding.

The angels first shouted the promise of peace, the promise of the Most High God, at a time when the people were being crushed under taxes too burdensome to bear — and Caesar wanted more. War and rebellion spoiled the peace. Would be messiahs offered their false brand of peace. Highwaymen imperiled the lives of every traveler. Crops failed, famine ravaged the land, and drought dried up the people's living. And Caesar, not content to glut himself on the living stolen from the people, and from the money changers who begged his favors, and from foreign kings who paid him tribute and bribes — asked for more. And what of Caesar's peace policy? He preferred to grind it out by grinding the people under his heel.

But let us be fair to Caesar — he could no more bring about peace on earth than our own leaders can today. Caesar did about as well with the horrors of his day as our own leaders are doing with the Middle East, and terrorists, and crime, and hurricanes, and fair taxes, and lobbying reform, and foreign campaign contributions, and the Tea party Movement, because our leaders our no better than Caesar and understand nothing of true peace.

That America is going the way of Rome is no secret, but that she need not have gone this way is no secret either. A republic based on Christian principles will fail when her leaders no longer abide by those principles and when fewer and fewer of the people want them to do so. The realpolitik of Heaven has declared that we will have peace on earth when men and women of good will predominate, and when men and women of good will are free to live according to the dictates of conscience. When such conditions prevail, we will also have freedom. Without the first condition, we can never enjoy the second. Without the first, we cannot even enjoy a crèche in the public square.

Our nation is at a tipping point. This tipping point has more to do with the Christmas crèche than people imagine. The crèche tells us that the individual for whom Christ died is of inestimable worth, and that his birthright includes inalienable rights granted by God. The war that has been waged against the Christmas crèche would make the private citizen wholly the creature of the state, and would make that state answerable to no one.

We are headed for an election that many believe will make or break us as a free people. Yet unless we understand that freedom means that our country must be made up of men and women freely choosing the good, we cannot remain free. Unless our leaders believe the same thing, we are lost. The words that the angels spoke that first Christmas have never been more important in the fortunes of this nation than they are now.

But understanding this, we can, along with Mary, clearly say this Christmas Season: "For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away." With Mary we can remember that it is God who raises up and brings low, and despite our circumstances, even in a deepening tyranny, it is God who will reward.

That is something to sing about.

© Marita Vargas

 

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Marita Vargas

Marita Vargas believes in freedom of speech and in civil discourse. Because for decades the American people have been silenced, intimidated, and poorly informed, they are in danger of losing their freedoms for the simple reason that they rarely discuss the underlying reasons for the current state of affairs. She can be reached at maritaemilyvargas@att.net.

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