Video: A Birth In Bethlehem

This profound carol, Oikans Ayns Bethlehem, (A Birth In Bethlehem) became one of my very favorite Christmas songs, the first time I heard it, several years ago. It’s sung here, by Emma Christian, in Manx,  the Gaelic language of the Isle of Man.  I’ve included lyrics in both Manx, and English.

The mind of God is now made clear to us:

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The Reason

For all the sound and fury about America not being a Christian nation, once again, we have come to that time of year when the government, and the retail temples for which little is sacred will close early, and then remain closed for a whole day to observe the holiday of Christmas…a day which bears the name of Christ.

While some outlets of government, such as public schools have chosen to remove his name from break which they take, his name is still attached to the holiday that the schools dare not name as it tumbles from the lips of excited children, who cannot be blamed for their jubilation and exuberance about all that the celebration brings, even if it does tend to detract from the reason we observe the celebration with his name.

This is a singular phenomenon. Government does not observe other religions in this fashion. It does not shut down for Muslim holy days. The birthdays of Buddha or Confucius are not marked with empty offices and closed stores. The radio is not filed with Zoroastrian carols at any time of year.

And while those who stridently believe in “a wall of separation between church and state” that the architects of our government never envisioned, and that would have indeed shocked and dismayed them attempt to erase these links in the name of preserving the wall that did not exist until 1949, we continue as if there is nothing at all arrogant in presuming that people more than one hundred and fifty years removed better understood what was intended than the people who wrote the blueprint. It is a fiction laid bare by what occurs this time of year, when we celebrate the birth, life, and death of a man who was God in the flesh, who came to freely give the ultimate gift, knowing that there would be too many who would reject what he gave, and would condemn themselves to a life of bondage, and an eternity of suffering before they would accept that which was freely given.

And during this time of year, when things fall still and silent, in his name, it is an occasion to reflect of the real harbinger of hope and change, humbly born, exalted and abandoned, and resurrected in real transformation. I know that people can still be sobered by the account of this life which came to save all others. I first heard this song a few years ago, and I still feel the gravity of it every single time I hear it.

Merry Christmas to all, even those who doubt or reject the gift…it is freely offered just the same.