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From The Chaplain's Desk
From The Chaplain's Desk: Christmas Season

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  December 1, 2019 --

I hesitated before writing this month’s column. Normally one expects a Christmas column to emphasize the joy, celebration, and giving associated with the Christmas season. But there is another side to the Christmas story, a deeper side, which is always present but usually somewhat hidden behind the scenes. Sometimes, however, it peeks out, sometimes buried in a Christmas carol, sometimes showing boldly. Consider, for instance, the folk hymn “I Wonder as I Wan- der,” often sung as a Christmas carol which begins:

“I Wonder as I Wander, out un- der the sky

How Jesus the savior did come forth to die

For poor on’ry people like you and like I...”

Our what about the fourth verse of “We Three Kings,” which contains: “Myrrh  is  mine;  its  bitter  per- fume breathes a life of gathering gloom;  sorrowing,  sighing,  bleed- ing, dying, sealed in the stone-cold tomb.”

 Not exactly a reflection of what we usually think about at Christ- mas time, is it? And yet, when we consider the full meaning of what the birth of Christ entails, it is definitely a part of the story. Christ- mas joy is because Jesus has come into the world. But why did Jesus come into the world? In the Gospel of Mark we read, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ran- som for many.” St. John says, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him,” and in Paul’s first letter to Timothy we read, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”

Not one word about Christmas in either the Gospel of Mark or the Gospel of John, and in the rest of the New Testament only the phrase “Jesus came into the world.” Jesus coming into the world is necessary for the rest of the story, and that’s one reason we celebrate Christmas, but without the rest of the story the beginning would have no meaning.

But now, as at the ending, the low is lifted high;

the stars shall bend their voices, and every stone shall cry.

And every stone shall cry in praises of the child

by whose descent among us the worlds are reconciled.

(by Richard Wilbur)



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