...ringing through the sky, shepherd boy,
...a song, a song, high above the trees,
with a voice as big as the sea...
I've always been amazed (except when I wasn't) at the fact that mankind is not stricken dumb with wonder and gratitude by the gift of the Christ Child's story, that men do not lift their eyes heavenward to see that not merely the multitude, but any one among them, might be the star announcing that God is with us. The light of Bethlehem flickers ever more faintly in this miserable and faithless world. It vanished from the heavens but, if not extinguished, where did it go?The miracle we celebrate seems such a small thing - a baby, conceived out of wedlock, born somewhere in the world to parents of straitened circumstances - yet so fills the heart it's too big for words. The poet, of the shepherds and the wise men, said
...one came from near, one from far,
One heard a song, one saw a star,
but following together found
infinity in flesh wrapped round.
The melancholy lingers; it must ever be joy's companion, in this life at least. Most of you have families, I presume, people who love you, who will shower you with gifts, and with whom you will share in this mystery. On the way home from mass I saw a ragged-looking fellow at the interstate onramp, looking for a handout. It seems a good night for remembering the lonely and the lost. Just for tonight I'll let the cynic sleep, and not blame him for his own circumstances which, like the Holy Family's, seemed somewhat desperate. Maybe I'll just say a prayer engendered by the hope of the Incarnation, that something will change, that someone's misery will have an end.
All you fellow cynics out there need to remember that the image of a mother and child can change the world. It already has, else why are you celebrating that 'small' moment in Bethlehem?
Meanwhile, Olivia sings it from the heart.