Monthly Archives: December 2013

A.D. versus C.E. in 2014

I realize that for the last 20 years or so the higher-up muckety mucks have been trying to steer our historical labels away from the cold and prickly realm of BC/AD to a more warm and fuzzy BCE/CE.  (And just in case one of those aforementioned higher-ups are reading this, we see what you are doing.  It’s hard to be sneaky from all the way up there in the ivory tower.)  But regardless of the labels you choose for the two halves of history’s lever, the fulcrum remains the same.  In other words, at some point two thousand years ago, there was a turning point in history.  Some significant event occurred.  And a whole lot of people not only noticed but told others as well.  And that event had enough of an impact to be remembered and passed on and transferred/translated from one culture to another.  I don’t think it’s too much of a leap to say that the only event (or series thereof) is the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

So as we turn the page on our calendars from 2013 A.D. to 2014 A.D., we remember that it is, in fact, A.D. … anno Domini … in the year of our Lord.  This means that Christ’s reign as the King of heaven and earth has lasted another year.  His dominion continues.  And His dominion is over all the victories and glories and wonderment of this world as well the defeats, humiliation, confusion and sufferings as well.  Our experiences don’t determine the strength or length of His ruling arm, and for that I am grateful.  Granted, this gratitude sometimes comes through gritted teeth.  Sometimes it comes on the heels of a fist shaken at heaven.  And sometimes it goes altogether unspoken, altogether unexpressed.  Yet the basic posture of the soul conquered by Christ’s dominion is one of gratitude.

Jesus has been raised from the dead and ascended to His throne as King.  There is no longer anything common about this era.  So let us raise our glasses tonight and toast to the reigning King.  Let us celebrate the year of our Lord 2014 and give Him thanks for his faithfulness in 2013.

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‘O Holy Night’ revisited

There is something to be said for the fact that when something is translated from another language that something doesn’t quite transfer.  And there are other times when you look at two different translations and you think to yourself, “Methinks something stinks with one of these.”  Well, it was recently pointed out to me in Touchstone Magazine that one of my holy-days favorites, “O Holy Night”, is just such a situation.  Originally written in French in the mid-1800’s by an amateur poet, it was translated into English by a Unitarian minister. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I had four years of French (Hooray for you, Mrs. Byrd!).  But that was almost 20 years ago, so my French skills have dwindled to where about the only thing I can do is pronounce hors d’oeuvres correctly … I think (sorry, Mrs. Byrd).  [If anyone is interested in the original French text, you can go here.]

When God as man descended among us
To expunge the stain of original sin
And to put an end to the wrath of his father.
The entire world thrills with hope
On this night which gives us a savior.
People, on your knees, attend your deliverance.
Christmas! Christmas! Here is the Redeemer!
Christmas! Christmas! Here is the Redeemer!
 
The ardent light of our Faith,
Guides us all to the cradle of the infant,
As in ancient times a brilliant star
Conducted the Magi there from the orient.
The King of kings was born in a humble manger;
O mighty ones of today, proud of your grandeur,
It is to your pride that God preaches.
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!
Bow your heads before the Redeemer!
 
The Redeemer has broken all shackles.
The earth is free and heaven is open.
He sees a brother were there was once but a slave;
Love unites those who restrain the sword.
Who will tell him our gratitude?
It is for us all that he was born, that he suffered and died.
People, stand up, sing your deliverance!
Christmas! Christmas! Let us sing the Redeemer!
Christmas! Christmas! Let us sing the Redeemer!

Now let it be said, I will sing “O Holy Night” with much gusto and enjoy it deeply this Christmas season.  But how much better could this great song be if fidelity to the original had been maintained?!  Oh how I would love to sing those first few phrases of verse three: “The Redeemer has broken all shackles.  The earth is free and heaven is open.  He sees a brother were there was once but a slave

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