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Some Christmas thoughts:

God rest ye merry, GentleWaisers, let nothing you dismay! Christmas is celebrated in different ways. Or should I say desecrated in different ways by Hollywood and most TV stations? Celebrated by the US troops in Kandahar, holding candles and singing Christmas carols. God rest them merry! Islam reveres Christ and even accepts the virgin birth, but I wonder what the local Taliban thought? Music is not approved of in Muslim liturgy.

For Protestants, the stress is on the infant Jesus, for Catholics more on Mary. "Hail, Mary, full of grace..." For me Christmas is Mother's Day, but does that make me a Catholic? No, because they believe in the virgin birth, while I do not believe in miracles, although I regard motherhood itself as a miracle. For me the virgin birth is a symbol of the liberation of woman from the macho condemnation of her in the story of Adam and Eve. Mary is a miracle in the sense that all unique people are, Jesus as the supreme genius of the religious spirit and the turning point of history. Those who have composed in his honor (Bach, Mozart, Beethoven) are geniuses in their sphere. Genius surpasses human understanding. It is a miracle.

Christmas Day is Mother's Day. Unhappy the person who cannot celebrate it. I revere my own mother who saw us through war, dislocation, the depression and illness with incredible courage and love. She was incidentally a very devout person. The world is full of such mothers. Today Mexican TV showed an attractive colored mother in Puerto Rico tending with infinite love her little boy who is destined to spend his life in a wheelchair. I thought of famous people who as children had survived thanks to their mothers. Victor Hugo, born as frail child in 1802, was abandoned by all, except his mother, "abandonné de tous, excepté de sa mère", as his famous poem puts it. There must be an anthology of tributes by famous men to their mothers.

So, on Christmas Day let us celebrate the miracle of motherhood. To escape from the cacophony of modern life, I listen in my mind's ear to the universal music of "Holy Night" and the Magnificat, which praises a humble mother. And I beseech you: "Hark the herald angels sing..."

Ronald Hilton - 12/25/01