Christmas in the Shadow of the Cross

*Posted by Winston Hottman

In his most recent NY Times column, Ross Douthat reflects on the Newtown murders in light of the Christmas narrative:

Picture taken from http://gma.yahoo.com/newtown-settles-prayerful-somber-christmas-050520909--abc-news-topstories.htmlIn the same way, the only thing that my religious tradition has to offer to the bereaved of Newtown today — besides an appropriately respectful witness to their awful sorrow — is a version of that story, and the realism about suffering that it contains.

That realism may be hard to see at Christmastime, when the sentimental side of faith owns the cultural stage. But the Christmas story isn’t just the manger and the shepherds and the baby Jesus, meek and mild.

The rage of Herod is there as well, and the slaughtered innocents of Bethlehem, and the myrrh that prepares bodies for the grave. The cross looms behind the stable — the shadow of violence, agony and death.

In the leafless hills of western Connecticut, this is the only Christmas spirit that could possibly matter now.

Read the rest of his thoughts here.

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