Christmas Meditation 2003: This Royal Night
December 24, 2003, 04:00 AM
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[See also: Christmas Meditation 2002: Christ, The "Other", And Counterfeit Citizens by John Zmirak; Christmas Meditation 2001: St Augustine and the National Question, by Chilton Williamson Jr.]

[VDARE.COM note: The Bush Administration has chosen to leak details of its latest amnesty plan to the Washington Post on Christmas Eve.  Through the miracle of the internet, this has not gone unnoticed as it would have done in the previous Bush Administration. We remember an earlier, much misinterpreted, miracle.]

The royal parents and the heir to a hallowed throne had to flee. Their native land was ruled by a rank usurper—who had bribed its priests, taken its temple, and subjugated its people to foreign enemies. Driven out for fear of their lives, the three went hundreds of miles into exile, to wait out a reign of terror.

It`s common in certain circles nowadays to compare the Holy Family`s flight into Egypt, or their search for a "room at the inn," to the plight of illegal immigrants. Bunk (as usual). These were no economic refugees, slipping across a border in search of higher carpentry wages. Joseph and Mary were law-abiding and obedient—to Caesar, who ordered them to Bethlehem for a census, and to God, who commanded they flee the tyrant Herod.

They were poor but nobly-born—of the House of David—proud members of a people that spurned intermarriage with alien races, despised other nation`s gods as fictions or devils, and fully expected one day to be a "light unto the gentiles," a city on a hill, ruled over by a triumphant Messiah who governed the world.

And these two knew their son was the Messiah. They expected him to assume the throne, to reign as priest-king of a newly triumphant race, to drive out the invaders and purge the sacred kingdom of foreign influences. In other words, they were less like new immigrants slipping into the U.S. than like the family of King Louis XVI trying to slip away from the Jacobins.

Things turned out differently than Mary and Joseph might have expected, given the messages they had received from the angels. More bitterly, of course, but also more gloriously. Their child was more than a human prophet like Elijah, or even a king like David. At some point they must have understood this fact, although the Gospels do not record when.

As the incarnation of God in mortal flesh, He was the sign that all life, at every stage, in every aspect, must now be infused with sacred significance—that the whole human world was potentially sacramental.  

Now all the critical passages of life could be sanctified: birth, adolescence, marriage, and death, with sacred food, ready forgiveness for sins, and priestly intercessors who entered the Holy of Holies not once a year, but every single day.

What is more, the sacred quality which once had only attended the Jewish nation now would infuse the gentile convert peoples. In time, the Roman emperor himself would see how the followers of this new king were better citizens than his own senators—and take up the cross himself.

In centuries to come, the kings of the gentiles would be anointed with oils by priests of this Jewish Christ, in conscious emulation of David`s coronation in faraway Israel.

The gentile nations were now sacred, too— their customs purified and uplifted to the worship of the One God, their destinies inextricably intertwined with that of the New Israel, the Church. The languages, legal codes, and even alphabets of these peoples were reborn or re-invented. In turn, they deepened and broadened the vernacular of Christian practice, embracing a wider variety of human experience than the desert culture of the ancient Jews had ever encountered.

The result was the wondrously rich and variegated civilization we call the West.

If Christ had sanctified poverty, so too he`d sanctified kingship—and every other good thing needful to man in his life on earth, from military service to merchandising—blessing the honest work done by pig-farmer and poet, barrister and…border guard.

May the infant Christ, healthy and warm in his Mother`s arms, remind us all of the holiness that should infuse this day and every moment of our lives, and watch over us through this long winter.

John Zmirak [email him] is the author of Wilhelm Röpke: Swiss Localist, Global Economist.