Friday, December 24, 2010

for wistful atheists and agnostics

Christmas leaves out no one - I mean, the message of love and redemption. It is for all. And often those outside churches understand it better than those within, for they are not used to hearing about it over and over again, they are not inured to its beauty.

From the author of Tess and other tragedies, I offer this prayer-hope-wish for all my atheist and agnostic family and friends who wish-wonder-dream that it might be so, that God might be so, that Jesus might be so, that an unstoppable, unending, impossible love might be so.

The Oxen
by Thomas Hardy

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
"Now hey are all on their knees,"
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen.
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve
"Come; see the oxen kneel

"In the lonely barton by yonder comb
Our childhood used to know,"
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.

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