Merry Christmas! Have a wonderful, quiet, blessed day full of all the good things that Christmas can be.
The Post is below the fold for those so inclined.
Edited on December 27 to add: Welcome Instapundit Readers! Thanks for stopping by.
I listened to the regional girls’ choir singing Amy Grant’s “Breath of Heaven.” They did a good job, but something about the lyrics bugged me, beyond just the too-repetitive, too-modern, too-simple usual complaint I have about modern pop-Christian music.* Afterwards, the girls were chatting about the concert, and I asked one who I’ve seen at the school which song was their favorite.
“Oh, Miss Red, ‘Breath of Heaven.'”
“Because Mary was a single mom just like the ones today, and G-d took care of her, and the song really gets that. And it’s pretty.”
Thump. Oh-kay. I realize that 6th graders are not generally considered experts in theology, but I wonder where she picked that idea up, assuming it is hers and not something she read on the ‘Net or that someone told her. Alas, it fits all too well with something the writer Kathleen Norris observed at a conference, when the speaker managed to infuriate both the black Baptist deaconess sitting on Norris’s right and the Greek Orthodox priest on her left, by claiming that G-d told Mary “Hey, so you got pregnant. It’s OK” and that people should be telling modern teens that. It also made me wonder what ever happened to Joseph?
The Gospel of Luke is what most people seem to associate with the Nativity and Christmas. But the Gospel of Matthew has an important point in it – Joseph “being a good man” didn’t plan to make Mary’s pregnancy public and ask for her to be punished. And he stayed with her, believing the angel in his dreams, and accepting the child as if it were his. Mary was not “just like” modern single mothers.
But that seems to be an unfortunate trend in pop theology and therapeutic Christianity. There’s nothing wrong with being a single mom, or by implication, with the actions required to get in that condition. Or worse, you have the guest editorial writer in the Washington Post who claimed that the Christian Church’s making Mary an example of the importance of bodily purity is hurtful to rape victims and that no human should be expected to be celibate until marriage, and that to recommend such is triggering and cruel. Which, even though I’m not Catholic, is not anywhere in the teachings about Mary that I’ve read or come across.
And it still leaves out Joseph, and that he supported Mary, and cared for her, and as best the Gospels suggest, raised Jesus as his own son, taught him a trade and saw that he grew up properly. (OK, there is that story about Child Jesus killing some of the kids in Nazareth for insulting him and Mary, and Mary ordering him to resurrect them, but that’s from one of those writings that is not on anyone’s approved Scripture list.)
The lyrics to “Breath of Heaven” are a scared young woman asking for emotional support and wondering if G-d has second thoughts about picking someone as inexperienced and uncertain as she is. Which collides with some theological ideas I’ve read, but not all of them. I still don’t care for the song, but I feel better after looking up the lyrics. A little better. And I still wonder what else the singers have been told about the Nativity.
*”Mary Did You Know?” is another song that lots of people love, with great music, and lyrics that make me wince in spots.