< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://www.timothygoddard.com/blog" /> The Flag of the World

The Flag of the World

-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.

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Thursday, November 27, 2003


Merry Christmas
And happy Thanksgiving too, of course. But dinner is done, and it's time to look onward to what is really my favorite holiday of the year.

Theoretically, as a Christian, Easter should be my favorite holiday. It is, after all, the only thing that makes Christmas worth celebrating. It's the Big Deal, the Whole Point, the Crux of History. And yet, I enjoy Christmas far more than I do Easter.

There are two minor reasons for that, and one major one. The first minor reason is that Christmas is longer. I can wish you a merry Christmas almost a month in advance, and you'll not think me all that strange. If I wished you a happy Easter a month before the day itself, then you'd think I was nuts.

Second, Easter is more familiar. Because it is the whole point, Christians celebrate it every time we sing, every time we are baptized, every time we take communion. The whole year is a constant celebration of Easter.

But while valid, these reasons don't explain the draw that Christmas has for me. That reason is a bit more complex.

The human spirit is filled with a desire for the epic, the awe-inspiring. We desire things that are greater than ourselves--this is why The Lord of the Rings is such a popular book and movie. This is why American presidents always describe the wars they fight as being a part of a battle for freedom that is older than the nation itself. This is why the one thing that Americans truly envy of Europeans about is the fact that they have ancient castles, cathedrals and keeps all around. This is why the British can't bear to do away with the monarchy. We like awe, we like greatness, we like the majesterial, we like, in essence, the epic.

But there is something greater than the epic. When the epic meets the everyday, that is where true greatness lies--that is what truly stirs our soul. This is why the Lord of the Rings is more popular than the Silmarillion, and why standing on an ancient spot is a thousand times more thrilling than reading of the events that happened there. When majesty intersects the mundane, that is what makes us see visions and dream dreams; that is what, as C. S. Lewis said, makes us desire to experience the whole universe at once; that is what makes us imagine that all the majesty of reality could one day meet us at our doorstep.

And that, after all, is exactly what happened. The Incarnation is the very definition of the mighty intersecting the meek, and of the great encountering the small. For what is greater than the Infinite, and what smaller than the Finite? Who more powerful than the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, and who more helpless than a newborn baby?

This is why I listen to Christmas music incessantly, why I've decorated even this page with garish decorations, and why I look forward to the next month with a glee that is both childlike and older than the mountains. Because what I celebrate this season, the ultimate collision of epic and the common, stirs my soul and calls me, too, to experience greatness, and it's a call I hope to never shirk.

So have a merry Christmas season, everyone, and may all your common intersect the epic along the way.
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