Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Little Town of Europe

O Holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray…

A good many years ago during the Christmas season, I remarked to a friend that Christmas was one part joyful to me and three parts depressing; depressing because the European people no longer celebrated Christmas with the fervent belief in the Holy Child of Bethlehem with which their European ancestors once celebrated Christmas. My friend replied that he was not going to let a bunch of secular liberals spoil his Christmas; he would celebrate Christmas as his ancestors had. I felt quite chastened and guilty for having allowed, in contrast to my friend, the liberalism of my fellow Europeans to depress me. But “no man,” as Donne so wisely tells us, “is an island,” and about four years later my friend was in a mental institution suffering from a nervous breakdown.

It’s no good lying to ourselves; of course being surrounded by the darkness of Liberaldom and Heathendom affects us. For many of us the darkness has seeped into our immediate family. Christmas is often a very combative time of year for many families, because of a deep divide over what Christmas is supposed to mean to a European.

Let’s make it clear. The European people and only the European people made the meaning of Christmas -- the belief that the hopes and fears of all the years were met in Him on the sacred night -- the cornerstone of their culture. Every village, every home where European people dwelt, bore witness to their faith in the birth, death, and resurrection of the incarnate Lord born in a stable in Bethlehem.

Europe became a spiritual Bethlehem because the belief in the Christ Child was nurtured and protected there. It is during the Christmas season that all the theological wrangling over free will and grace becomes nonsense. The Child in the manger freely gives “to human hearts” the charge and care of His Sacred Person. It is my contention that the European people prior to the 20th century fulfilled their sacred trust, even though every good Christian during the Christian European era would say they had failed the Child born in Bethlehem. And from a divine standard they would be right; they all failed. But Christ judges us as human beings not as divinities. And by that humane standard the European everyman of antique Europe has left behind an irreplaceable legacy of fidelity and loyalty to Jesus Christ. At Easter we think of the Triumphant Lord, who conquered death, but at Christmas we think of the Child and the Friend. Yeats once wrote:

Think where man's glory most begins and ends,
and say my glory was I had such friends.

The European’s glory was that he befriended and championed the Christ Child.

Every Christmas my family and I sing our way through a book of traditional Christmas carols. The songs speak to the heart; they tell of the silent night, the holy night, on which the Savior was born. They speak of the child in the manger, so helpless and yet the hope of the world. Sung collectively the old Christmas carols place a man in Christian Europe. Everything is clear in that world. The dark night was destroyed by the dangerous and heroic leap that Christ made onto the stage of human history. As the song says, “The hopes and fears of all the years, Are met in thee tonight.”

The great Civil War which Lincoln said the American Europeans were engaged in to determine whether a nation conceived in utopian liberalism could long endure was just one manifestation of the ongoing attempt of Satan to make Christendom into Babylon. In Babylon all is not clear, bright, and holy. All is dark, dim, and unholy. The Babylonian world is the world the modern European has chosen over the Europe that revered the little town of Bethlehem.

It is good to talk of peace at Christmas time when all Europeans share a belief in the Christ Child, but when Liberaldom replaces Christendom and the savage rites of black barbarism and the techno-barbarity of the liberals replace the star of Bethlehem, we needs must seek the peace that comes from fighting against principalities and powers. Christ is our Savior, but He also is our friend. And we have left our friend at the mercy of the liberals and the barbarians. It is not improper or against the Christmas spirit to renew our vow of fidelity to our Lord and gird up our loins for the battle against the Babylonian minions of Satan, who are legion.

If I wanted to write a book on the works of Walter Scott, there would be a vast body of work I could write about. And so it is with our European ancestors. They have left behind a great body of work that we can look at and make judgments concerning the quality of their work. The liberals condemn the antique Europeans with all their hearts, without allowing for any mitigating circumstances. We know the litany: “they were racist, they were sexist, they were fascists, they had bad breath…” The list of their sins is endless. The halfway-house Christians also condemn the antique Europeans. Their condemnations are often softened with, “They were a product of their unenlightened times,” but in the end the halfway-house Christian joins the liberal in condemning ‘The Little Town of Bethlehem’ culture of the antique Europeans. But both the liberal and the halfway-house Christian feed on the older European culture like leeches. Where is the life-sustaining grace in Babylon? When the liberal needs mercy he will always, most often without acknowledging the source, look for some hidden remnant of European light on the periphery of Babylon. And likewise the halfway-house Christian, when looking for Christian comfort and mercy, will turn to the European past to relieve his present misery. There are very few pockets of European light left in Babylon, so the liberal and his halfway-house Christian cousin will soon have to embrace the soulless, dark night of Babylon in which there is no mercy because there is no Christ Child, the source of all mercy.

Just as the antique Europeans left behind a body of work, so now have the liberals built up a body of work to which we can point. They have established abortuaries in every major city of what was once Christendom. In keeping with their faith in the ‘natural savage’, they have opened up Christian Europe to the barbarian hordes of color and joined with the barbarians in their desecration of Christian Europe. These are the people with whom the halfway-house Christians want to merge? These are the people we are not supposed to drive from our land? “Everyone is beautiful” to the halfway-house Christian except the European Christian; he must progress and leave his racism and sexism behind before he can become part of Liberaldom, which somehow is supposed to be good, despite the fact that Liberaldom sanctifies the destruction of everything sacred to the antique Europeans.

In the Christmas carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem” by Phillips Brooks, we can hear the voice of Christian Europe. Surely the Europeans of the pre-modern era got it right: “God imparts to human hearts, The blessings of His heav’n.” The Europeans of the Christian era found God in the little human things that the modern Europeans scorn. But He did not scorn the little human things, being born of the Virgin Mary in the Little Town of Bethlehem. I have read and heard many sermons about the unbearable agony Christ suffered on the cross, and I have no doubt that the agony was unbearable, and yet He bore it. But I have never read about the agony that the Son of God endured in the womb of His mother. His divine humanity had to have been conscious even then that he was totally dependent on the care of His Father who was in heaven and the man and woman to whom His Father entrusted Him. All this He endured to show us that we were linked to Him through our common humanity. This the European of the past age knew, and this the modern European no longer knows. To become more human is to become closer to Him. To become less human, which the modern does when he denounces all ties of blood and faith to his European ancestors, is to become a man without a soul. The little town of Bethlehem is old Europe, and the hopes and fears of all the years are indeed met in Europe. +

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