Thursday, December 29, 2011


     I consider myself to be a conservative, by which I mean that I believe there are things that should be conserved (preserved, used or managed wisely), including natural resources, our nation, our constitution, our rights, our faith, our history, and most importantly, our people, with the least amount of government possible.

      On Christmas Day, the Spokesman-Review published an editorial by Ryan Messmore, a research fellow in the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation, a "conservative" think-tank.  While I agree with some of what he says, I also find much of it deeply offensive.

      He starts by saying:
      Christmastime is a season of gratitude.  Whether it's because we reflect upon the birth of the Christ child or the blessings of the past year, the holiday often prompts a sense of appreciation and thankfulness, as well as the tradition of gift-giving.
      Good, except that it is not the birth of the Christ child, but the Incarnation of the Christ, the Messiah, and the date comes from the dedication of the Nativity in Bethlehem in about A.D. 326.  But then he continues:
      And this year, the season of giving and receiving gifts comes in sharp contrast to a succession of months pervaded with a sense of entitlement. 
      An entitlement mentality - a sense of being owed something for nothing - settles in when people interpret wants as needs and then view those needs as rights.  And once something is understood as a "right," people tend to hold government responsible for providing it. 
      First, on what basis does he claim that there is a pervasive sense of entitlement, an entitlement mentality.  Most of those I know who are poor and needy are just that.  Through circumstances sometimes within their control but usually not, they are out of work, or are faced with some family or health crisis or something beyond their control, or the aftermath thereof, and it is not about entitlement; it is about survival.  Most are not holding the government responsible, but are simply grateful when there is help.

      Second, according to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary , the very first definition of "want" as an intransitive verb is "to be needy or destitute."  In simple English, "wants" are "needs."  And as a transitive verb, definition 3b is "to suffer from the lack of <thousands still want food and shelter>."

      I would have expected more from a Heritage Foundation research fellow than this sophistry. He continues:
      This "government-owes-us" mentality threatens not only the spirit of Christmas but the very fabric of a just and prosperous society.
      For America's founders, the list of basic individual rights included life, liberty and property.  The founders asserted that God provides these rights and governments are responsible to protect them.
      I believe there is a sense in which the government does indeed owe all of us something, but this has little to do with, and is no threat to, a spirit of Christmas.  It is rooted not in this distorted reference, but in the actual words of the Declaration of Independence:
      We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed....
      Note that "Creator" does not necessarily mean "God" in a particular or personal sense.  Messmore continues:
      Over the years, the list of what Americans think they deserve from government has ballooned.  Visit an "Occupy" protest encampment, and you'll hear claims for the right to a high-paying job, home ownership, comprehensive health care and freedom from college debt.  Many Americans think retirement at age 65 is an automatic right, regardless of circumstances.
      Notice that he changes from a list of rights to a list of what a small rabble that claims to represent the majority but in reality only represents a small fringe claims are deserved.  These statements are unsupported, and I do not believe they are even true.  I believe that what most Americans consider rights has not changed.

      Many events of 2011, from the uprising in Greece to the downgrading of America’s credit rating, revealed the dangers of runaway spending on Social Security and other entitlement programs. Less noticed was the degrading effect an insidious entitlement mentality has on the moral fabric of a people.
      Such a “we’re due” attitude can suppress aspiration and sap the ambition to work. It often accompanies envy and class warfare. And it can weaken personal bonds of mutual responsibility and care among citizens. 
      This outlook, of course, clashes with the attitudes of gift-giving and thankfulness that mark the Christmas season. 
      Gifts create a kind of momentum of good will that bind both giver and receiver in a more personal relationship. The giver often is motivated by the desire to help, while the receiver usually is motivated by gratitude to give back, at a minimum, an expression of thanks.
      This seemingly basic dynamic is important when it comes to tackling social ills. If conditions permit, gift-givers often have a vested interest in seeing that the desired objective of their help is achieved.
      Again, the first problem I have is this continuing idea of a pervasive entitlement mentality. In the case of Social Security, a contract exists which should be fulfilled. Comparing America with Greece, and a contractual entitlement with other types of programs, and gift-giving with helping the poor and needy, and connecting an unexplained dynamic with social ills is the grossest of sophistry.
      Entitlements foster a different social relationship, mainly because governments typically deliver the benefits through impersonal, top-down programs. 
      Entitlement programs are funded by taxes, which government mandates under threat of penalty. The requirement often fosters a sense of resentment among taxpayers rather than a desire to help others.
       Perhaps someone can explain how a resentment over taxes is antithetical to a desire to help others.
      And on the other side, an entitlement mentality tends to undercut the feeling and offering of gratitude. In fact, sometimes that sense of entitlement tempts recipients to “play” the system, leading to waste, fraud and long-term dependence on the dole.
In short, ever-expanding entitlements aren’t just a fiscal liability; they’re a moral threat as well. They have the power to shape cultural attitudes and social dynamics. Americans need to be aware of this potential, so we not only can avoid financial collapse but also foster the kinds of relationships most conducive to genuine compassion and flourishing. 
As we celebrate the holidays, let’s give thanks for – and diligently protect – our God-given rights. But let’s also pay attention to the dynamics that play out with the giving and receiving of presents.
       There will always be some who "play the system."  To suggest that those receiving Social Security are not grateful, to equate true contractual entitlements with other kinds of assistance for the poor and needy, and to suggest a moral threat without supporting such a claim is an offence to true conservatism.
This is a season for reflecting especially on gifts of grace – blessings to which we aren't necessarily entitled. May gratitude move us to give freely and generously to others in the New Year.
      Only with this final paragraph of his column do I wholeheartedly agree.
     Rab Naaman of Makor said: I complained, 'There are two men and only one gives to the poor.'  God said, "you are wrong.  There is only one man, because he who will not give to the poor is an animal.'"
James Michener, The Source, p. 519 (in the style of the Talmud)
      A current variation of that might be, 'There are two parties.  One talks about an entitlement mentality but offers little or no help, as if almost everyone who has needs, who is poor, who is unemployed, thinks they are owed something, or that their problems are their own fault.  The other offers many government programs, some of which actually do help a little, but the motivation is political, and meanwhile much of what is done is of little real help.

      The following story is from a column by Paul Graves published in the Spokesman-Review on July 1, 2000:
      Once upon a time a visitor came to the monastery looking for the purpose and meaning of life.  The Teacher said to the Visitor, "If you seek Truth, there is one thing you must have above all else."
      "I know" the visitor said. "To find Truth I must have an overwhelming passion for it."
      "No," the Teacher said. "In order to find Truth, you must have an unremitting readiness to admit you may be wrong."
      Throughout the centuries many religions have appeared among mankind.  A few have been tolerant of others and not tried to impose their ideas.  Some have even realized that they are not some sole repository of all truth.  But none have ever been consistent with their own teachings.  Paul taught persuasion by preaching, but after the rise of Constantine, Christianity was imposed by force in many areas of Byzantine and Roman rule.  Islam has seen many transformations.  Some of their expansion was facilitated because of reaction to earlier "Christian" excesses.  The Crusades were in part a reaction to earlier excesses on the part of some Muslims, and yet many atrocities were committed by the Crusaders on fellow Christians and others even before crossing into Asia.  The people they were then fighting against were Turks and Kurds, not Arabs. When they captured Antioch, Arab leaders came to them seeking alliance against the Turks, but were rejected.
      "When you once describe a venture as a holy war you surrender all capacity to judge honest alternatives."
Michener, p. 678
      Christianity is not alone in having a Golden Rule: "Do to others, as you would have them do to you."  The Talmud of Judaism said, "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men."  Brahmanism said, "Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you."  Buddhism said, "Hurt not others in ways that you yourself find hurtful."  Confucianism said, "Do not unto others that you would not have them do unto you."

      At this point I feel it necessary to point out a fundamental principle concerning interpretation, especially when the subject of religion and of the concept of God is to be discussed. It is the rule of consistency.  Any interpretation not consistent with who and what God must be if He really is God must be rejected.  Any interpretation not consistent with the clear words of received Scripture must be rejected.  Any interpretation not consistent with observable, testable evidence, must be at least suspect, if not rejected.  This holds whether you follow the Bible, The Koran, or any other form of Scripture.  Where the Scripture is clear, we are bound.  Where the Scripture is silent, we have liberty.

      Anyone who calls for the extermination of others in the name of his god must not be followed, for if God is anything he is a God of life, and we are not the judges, but he is the Judge.  This is not to say that we are not to exercise discernment, or that we should not be strong and prepared to defend ourselves in the face of evil.  For if good is to triumph over evil, if liberty is to triumph over tyranny, we must be strong indeed.  As long as there are people on this planet, there will always by some who are so filled with evil that their continued presence among is is like a cancer that must be completely removed, but that is an issue for another time.
      14  Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of naught, and the deceit of their heart. - Jeremiah 14  (KJV) 
      15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits . Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. - Matthew 7 (KJV)
      I do not believe that salvation is about what you know, or who you know by name, or what religion a person follows; but rather it is most importantly about what you do or don't do for the least among us.
      31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come , ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred , and ye gave me meat : I was thirsty , and ye gave me drink : I was a stranger, and ye took me in : 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick , and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying , Lord, when saw we thee an hungred , and fed thee? or thirsty , and gave thee drink ? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in ? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed , into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred , and ye gave me no meat : I was thirsty , and ye gave me no drink : 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in : naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying , Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst , or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying , Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.  - Matthew 25 (KJV)
      Notice that this passage does not say that those who are called righteous even knew this King's name before they found themselves in front of him.  If so, they certainly could have had no idea about right doctrine and right discipline.  They were received because of how they treated other people.  But many who did know his name, and thought they had all the right doctrine and discipline, were cast out.  The fate of mankind rests not on what religion we practice or don't practice.  And it does not rest on our allegiance to a particular nation or ideology.  It rests on who we treat the poor, the needy, the outcast.
     The very first lines of the Qur'an (Koran) states clearly what must be the among the most important ideas about who and what God must be if he is truly God:
      IN the name of the merciful and compassionate God.
      Praise belongs to God, the Lord of the worlds, the merciful, the compassionate, the ruler of the day of judgment! Thee we serve and Thee we ask for aid. Guide us in the right path, the path of those Thou art gracious to; not of those Thou art wroth with; nor of those who err.
      If God is who and what he must be, he must be both Transcendent and Imminent. He must be both the creator of all that exists, and the merciful and compassionate judge of each person individually.
       7 If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, norshut thine hand from thy poor brother: 8 But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. - Deuteronomy 15 (KJV)
      36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law ?" 37 And He said to him, " 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' 38 "This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 "The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' 40 "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." - Matthew 22 (NASV) 
      28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all ?" 29 Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'HEAR, O ISRAEL ! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD ; 30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.' 31 "The second is this, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these." - Mark 12 (NASV)
      The most important things in life, then, are these: Love God, Love your fellow human beings, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty,  receive the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and the prisoners.


update:  On Saturday, December 31, after I had published this post the day before, the Spokesman-Review published a satirical article by Shawn Vestal also dealing with the Ryan Messmore piece.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


go to Part 1      go to Part 3 (to be added)

LUKE 1:5-25


Annunciation of the Angel to Zechariah
 Domenico Ghirlandaio (1490)
 fresco in the Tornabuoni Chapel, Florence
  5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Yehudah, a certain Kohen [priest] named Zekharyah, of the priestly division of Aviyah. He had a wife of the daughters of Aharon, and her name was Elisheva. 6 They were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elisheva was barren, and they both were well advanced in years. 8 Now it happened, while he executed the Kohen's office before God in the order of his division, 9 according to the custom of the Kohen's office, his lot was to enter into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 The whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 Zekharyah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell on him. 13 But the angel said to him, "Don't be afraid, Zekharyah, because your request has been heard, and your wife, Elisheva, will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Yochanan. 14 You will have joy and gladness; and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Ruach HaKodesh, even from his mother's womb. 16 He will turn many of the children of Yisra'el to the Lord, their God. 17 He will go before his face in the spirit and power of Eliyah, 'to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." 18 Zekharyah said to the angel, "How can I be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years." 19 The angel answered him, "I am Gavri'el, who stands in the presence of God. I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news. 20 Behold, you will be silent and not able to speak, until the day that these things will happen, because you didn't believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time." 21 The people were waiting for Zekharyah, and they marveled while he delayed in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them, and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple. He continued making signs to them, and remained mute. 23 It happened, when the days of his service were fulfilled, he departed to his house. 24 After these days Elisheva, his wife, conceived, and she hid herself five months, saying, 25 "Thus has the Lord done to me in the days in which he looked at me, to take away my reproach among men."

Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation.
also known as the Church of St. Gabriel or
St. Gabriel's Greek Orthodox Church
Nazareth, Israel


  10  And there was a council of the priests, saying: Let us make a veil for the temple of the Lord. And the priest said: Call to me the undefiled virgins of the family of David. And the officers went away, and sought, and found several virgins. And the priest remembered the child Miryam, that she was of the family of David, and undefiled before God. And the officers went away and brought her. And they brought them into the temple of the Lord. And the priest said: Choose for me by lot who shall spin the gold, and the undefiled, and the fine linen, and the silk, and the hyacinth and the scarlet, and the true purple.  And the true purple and the scarlet fell to the lot of Miryam, and she took them, and went away to her house.  And at that time Zekharyah was dumb, and Shemu'el was in his place until the time that Zekharyah spake.

LUKE 1:26-38


Lochner Altar: Annunciation
Cologne Cathedral
   26 Now in the sixth month, the angel Gavri'el was sent from God to a city of the Galil, named Natzeret, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man whose name was Yosef, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Miryam. 28 Having come in to her, the angel said, "Rejoice, you highly favored one! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women!" 29 But when she saw him, she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered what kind of salutation this might be. 30 The angel said to her, "Don't be afraid, Miryam, for you have found favor with God. 31 Behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and will call his name 'Yeshua.' 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of Ha`Elyon. The Lord God will give to him the throne of his father, David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Ya`akov forever. There will be no end of his kingdom." 34 Miryam said to the angel, "How will this be, seeing I am a virgin?" 35 The angel answered her, "The Ruach HaKodesh will come on you, and the power of Ha`Elyon will overshadow you. Therefore also the holy one who is born from you will be called the Son of God. 36 Behold, Elisheva, your relative, also has conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For no word from God will be void of power." 38 Miryam said, "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it to me according to your word." The angel departed from her.

 Bartolome Esteban Murillo

   11  And she took the pitcher, and went out to fill it with water. And, behold, a voice saying: Hail, thou who hast received grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women! And she looked round, on the right hand and on the left, to see whence this voice came. And she went away, trembling, to her house, and put down the pitcher; and taking the purple, she sat down on her seat, and drew it out. And, behold, an angel of the Lord stood before her, saying: Fear not, Miryam; for thou hast found grace before the Lord of ail, and thou shalt conceive, according to His word. And she hearing, reasoned with herself, saying: Shall I conceive by the Lord, the living God? and shall I bring forth as every woman brings forth? And the angel of the Lord said: Not so, Miryam; for the power of the Lord shall overshadow thee: wherefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of the Most High. And thou shalt call His name Yeshua, for He shall save His people from their sins. And Miryam said: Behold, the servant of the Lord before His face: let it be unto me according to thy word.

  12  And she made the true purple and the scarlet, and took them to the priest. And the priest blessed her, and said: Miryam, the Lord God hath magnified thy name, and thou shalt be blessed in all the generations of the earth.  And Miryam, with great joy, went away to Elisheva her kinswoman, and knocked at the door. And when Elisheva heard her, she threw away what she had in her hand, and ran to the door, and opened it; and seeing Miryam, she blessed her, and said : Whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? for, behold, that which is in me leaped and blessed thee. But Miryam had forgotten the mysteries of which the archangel Gavri'el had spoken, and gazed up into heaven, and said: Who am I, O Lord, that all the generations of the earth should bless me? And she remained three months with Elisheva; and day by day she grew bigger. And Miryam being afraid, went away to her own house, and hid herself from the sons of Yisra'el. And she was sixteen years old when these mysteries happened.

LUKE 1:39-56


Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1491
Louvre, Paris
   39 Miryam arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Yehudah, 40 and entered into the house of Zekharyah and greeted Elisheva. 41 It happened, when Elisheva heard Miryam's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elisheva was filled with the Ruach HaKodesh. 42 She called out with a loud voice, and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 Why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the voice of your greeting came into my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy! 45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of the things which have been spoken to her from the Lord!"

  46 Miryam said, "My soul magnifies the Lord. 47 My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior, 48 For he has looked at the humble state of his handmaid. For behold, from now on, all generations will call me blessed. 49 For he who is mighty has done to me great things. Holy is his name. 50 His mercy is for generations of generations on those who fear him. 51 He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their heart. 52 He has put down princes from their thrones. And has exalted the lowly. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things. He has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has given help to Yisra'el, his servant, that he might remember mercy, 55 As he spoke to our fathers, Toward Avraham and his seed forever." 56 Miryam stayed with her about three months, and returned to her house.

MY soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
      For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his hand maiden.
      For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.
      For he that is mighty hath magnified me : and holy is his Name.
      And his mercy is on them that fear him : throughout all generations.
      He hath shewed strength with his arm : he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
      He hath put down the mighty from their seat : and hath exalted the humble and meek.
      He hath filled the hungrv with good things : and the rich he hath sent empty away.
      He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel : as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.

LUKE 1:56-80


The Holy Family with St. Elizabeth and St. Zacharias
Painted by the workshop of Nicola Port
Church of St. Joseph of Monacelle
  57 Now the time that Elisheva should give birth was fulfilled, and she brought forth a son. 58 Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had magnified his mercy towards her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 It happened on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him Zekharyah, after the name of the father. 60 His mother answered, "Not so; but he will be called Yochanan." 61 They said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name." 62 They made signs to his father, what he would have him called. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, "His name is Yochanan." They all marveled. 64 His mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue freed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 Fear came on all who lived around them, and all these sayings were talked about throughout all the hill country of Yehudah. 66 All who heard them laid them up in their heart, saying, "What then will this child be?" The hand of the Lord was with him. 67 His father, Zekharyah, was filled with the Ruach HaKodesh, and prophesied, saying,

Zechariah Writes Down the Name of His Son
Domenico Ghirlandaio (1490)
Tornabuoni Chapel, Florence, Italy

  68 "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Yisra'el, For he has visited and worked redemption for his people; 69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David 70 (As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets who have been from of old), 71 Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us; 72 To show mercy towards our fathers, To remember his holy covenant, 73 The oath which he spoke to Avraham, our father, 74 To grant to us that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, should serve him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life. 76 And you, child, will be called a prophet of Ha`Elyon, For you will go before the face of the Lord to make ready his ways, 77 To give knowledge of salvation to his people by the remission of their sins, 78 Because of the tender mercy of our God, Whereby the dawn from on high will visit us, 79 To shine on those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death; To guide our feet into the way of shalom."

BLESSED be the Lord God of Israel : for he hath visited and redeemed his people;
      And hath raised up a mighty salvation for us : in tne house of his servant David;
      As he spake by the mouth of his holy Prophets : which have been since the world began;
      That we should be saved from our enemies : and from the hands of all that hate us;
      To perform the mercy promised to our forefathers: and to remember his holy Covenant;
      To perform the oath which he sware to our forefather Abraham: that he would give us;
      That we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies : might serve him without fear;
      In holiness and righteousness before him : all the days of our life.
      And thou, Child, shalt be called the Prophet of the Highest : for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
      To give knowledge of salvation unto his people : for the remission of their sins;
      Through the tender mercy of our God : whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us;
      To give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death : and to guide our feet into the way of peace
  80 The child grew, and grew strong in spirit, and was in the desert until the day of his public appearance to Yisra'el.


Betrothal of the Virgin
Lippo Vanni: fresco c. 1360
San Leonardo al Lago.Siena
   18 Now the birth of Yeshua the Messiah was like this; because when his mother, Miryam, had been engaged to Yosef, before they came together, she was found pregnant by the Ruach HaKodesh. 19 Yosef, her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, intended to put her away secretly. 20 But when he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Yosef, son of David, don't be afraid to take to yourself Miryam, your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Ruach HaKodesh. 21 She shall bring forth a son. You shall call his name Yeshua, for it is he who shall save his people from their sins." 22 Now all this has happened, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, 23 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, And shall bring forth a son. They shall call his name Immanu'el;" Which is, being interpreted, "God with us." 24 Yosef arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took his wife to himself; 25 and didn't know her
until she had brought forth her firstborn son.
He named him Yeshua.

'Joseph's Dream', by Gaetano Gandolfi, c. 1790

  13. And she was in her sixth month; and, behold, Yosef came back from his building, and, entering into his house, he discovered that she was big with child. And he hung down his face, and threw himself on the ground upon the sackcloth, and wept bitterly, saying: With what face shall I look upon the Lord my God? and what prayer shall I make about this maiden? because I received her a virgin out of the temple of the Lord, and I have not watched over her. Who is it that has hunted me down? Who has done this evil thing in my house, and defiled the virgin? And Yosef stood up from the sackcloth, and called Miryam, and said to her: O thou who hast been cared for by God, why hast thou done this, and forgotten the Lord thy God? Why hast thou brought low thy soul, thou that wast brought up in the holy place, and that didst receive food from the hand of an angel ? And she wept bitterly, saying: I am innocent, and have known no man. And Yosef said to her: Whence then is that which is in thy womb? And she said: As the Lord my God liveth, I do not know whence it is to me.

  14. And Yosef was greatly afraid, and retired from her, and considered what he should do in regard to her. And Yosef said: If Iconceal her sin, I find myself fighting against the law of the Lord; and if I expose her to the sons of Yisra'el, I am afraid lest that which is in her be from an angel, and I shall be found giving up innocent blood to the doom of death. What then shall I do with her? I will put her away from me secretly. And night came upon him; and, behold, an angel of the Lord appears to him in a dream, saying: Be not afraid for this maiden, for that which is in her is of the Holy Spirit; and she will bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Yeshua, for He will save His people from their sins. And Yosef arose from sleep, and glorified the God of Yisra'el, who had given him this grace; and he kept her.

  15. And Anan the scribe came to him, and said: Why hast thou not appeared in our assembly? And Yosef said to him: Because I was weary from my journey, and rested the first day. And he turned, and saw that Miryam was with child. And he ran away to the priest, and said to him: Yosef, whom thou didst vouch for, has committed a grievous crime. And the priest said: How so? And he said: He has defiled the virgin whom he received out of the temple of the Lord, and has married her by stealth, and has not revealed it to the sons of Israel. And the priest answering, said: Has Yosef done this? Then said Annas the scribe: Send officers, and thou wilt find the virgin with child. And the officers went away, and found it as he had said; and they brought her along with Yosef to the tribunal. And the priest said: Miryam, why hast thou done this? and why hast thou brought thy soul low, and forgotten the Lord thy God? Thou that wast reared in the holy place, and that didst receive food from the hand of an angel, and didst hear the hymns, and didst dance before Him, why hast thou done this? And she wept bitterly, saying: As the Lord my God liveth, I am pure before Him, and know not a man. And the priest said to Yosef: Why hast thou done this? And Yosef said: As the Lord liveth, I am pure concerning her. Then said the priest: Bear not false witness, but speak the truth. Thou hast married her by stealth, and hast not revealed it to the sons of Israel, and hast not bowed thy head under the strong hand, that thy seed might be blessed. And Yosef was silent.

  16. And the priest said: Give up the virgin whom thou didst receive out of the temple of the Lord. And Yosef burst into tears. And the priest said: I will give you to drink of the water of the ordeal of the Lord, [Num. v. 11, ff] and He shall make manifest your sins in your eyes. And the priest took the water, and gave Yosef to drink, and sent him away to the hill country; and he returned unhurt. And he gave to Miryam also to drink, and sent her away to the hill-country; and she returned unhurt. And all the people wondered that sin did not appear in them. And the priest said : If the Lord God has not made manifest your sins, neither do I judge you. And he sent them away. And Yosef took Miryam, and went away to his own house, rejoicing and glorifying the God of Israel


"The Hope"

Kol ‘od balleivav p'nimah
As long as in the heart, within,

Nefesh Yehudi homiyah,
A Jewish soul still yearns,

Ulfa’atei mizrach kadimah,
And onward, towards the ends of the east,

Ayin l'tziyon tzofiyah;An eye still gazes toward Zion;


‘Od lo avdah tikvateinu,
Our hope is not yet lost,

Hatikvah hannoshanah,
The ancient hope,

L'hyot ‘am chofshi b’artzeinu,
To be a free people in our land,

Eretz-tziyon v'Yerushalayim.
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.


(to be added)

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Part 1      go to Part 2

Christ of Saint John of the Cross
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Glasgow, Scotland

        What follows in not intended as a substitute for what is contained in the Bible, nor to promote any particular position.  While it includes those passages from the Bible relating to the incarnation, it also includes apocryphal material edited from several other sources dating from before the fifth century.  Medieval poetry and sacred art have been very much indebted to these writings.  Much of this added material is more fable than fact; but the purpose here is not so much "facts" as "truth".  Consider the following story:
      Once upon a time a visitor came to a monastery looking for the purpose and meaning of life.  The Teacher said to the Visitor, "If you seek Truth, there is one thing you must have above all else."

      "I know" the visitor said. "To find Truth I must have an overwhelming passion for it."

      "No," the Teacher said. "In order to find Truth, you must have an unremitting readiness to admit you may be wrong."

      Bible passages are edited from the Hebrew Names Version (public domain), with frequent substitution of other words or phrases.  The following is a list of the transliterated Hebrew names used in this post, with the common English form and the meaning of the name [to be added].


Mashiach=Messiah or Christ:
Ruach HaKodesh


TITIAN : “A Sacra Conversazione: The Madonna and Child
with Saints Luke and Catherine of Alexandria.” ca. 1560
Privately owned; sold 1/27/2011 at Southeby's in New York
for $16,882,500

Section I


Yochanan 1:1-18

  1  In old time was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
  2  The same was in the beginning with God.
  3  All things were made through him. Without him was not anything made that has been made.
  4  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
  5  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn't overcome it.
  6  There came a man, sent from God, whose name was Yochanan.
  7  The same came as a witness, that he might testify about the light, that all might believe through him.
  8  He was not the light, but was sent that he might testify about the light.
  9  The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world.
10  He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world did not recognize him.
11  He came to his own, and those who were his own did not receive him.
12  But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God's children, to those who believe in his name:
13  who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14  The Word became flesh, and lived among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.
15  Yochanan testified about him. He cried out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me, for he was before me.'"
16  From his fullness we all received grace upon grace.
17  For the law was given through Moshe. Grace and truth came through Yeshua the Messiah.
18  No one has seen God at any time. The one and only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.

TITIAN  ca. 1510
National Gallery, London



Saints Joachim and Anne,
parents of the Virgin Mary
  1 In the records of the twelve tribes of Yisra'el was Ioakeim, a man rich exceedingly; and he brought his offerings double, saying: What I offer above what the law requires shall be to all the people, but the offering I make for my own forgiveness shall be for a propitiation to the Lord, that He may be merciful me. For the great day of the Lord was at hand, and the sons of Yisra'el were bringing their offerings. And there stood over against him Re'uven, saying : It is not meet for thee first to bring thine offerings, because thou hast not made seed in Yisra'el. And Ioachim was exceedingly grieved, and went away to the registers of the twelve tribes of the people, saying : I shall see the registers of the twelve tribes of Yisra'el, as to whether I alone have not made seed in Yisra'el. And he searched, and found that all the righteous had raised up seed in Yisra'el. And he called to mind the patriarch Avraham, that in his last days God gave him a son Yitzchak. And Ioachim was exceedingly grieved, and did not come into the presence of his wife; but he retired to the wilderness, and there pitched his tent, and fasted forty days and forty nights, saying in himself: I will not go down either for food or for drink until the Lord my God shall look upon me, and prayer shall be my food and drink.

Nazareth from northeast

Greek icon of Saint Anne and Mary,
 by Angelos Akotantos
  2 And his wife Hannah mourned in two mournings, and lamented in two lamentations, saying: I shall bewail my widowhood ; I shall bewail my childlessness. And the great day of the Lord was at hand; and Yehudit her maid-servant said: How long dost thou humiliate thy soul? Behold, the great day of the Lord is at hand, and it is unlawful for thee to mourn. But take this head-band, which the woman that made it gave to me ; for it is not proper that I should wear it, because I am thy maid-servant, and thou hast a royal appearance." And Hannah said: Depart from me; for I have not done such things, and the Lord has brought me very low. I fear that some wicked person has given it to thee, and thou hast come to make me a sharer in thy sin. And Yehudit said: Why should I curse thee, seeing that thou hast not listened to my voice; for the Lord hath shut thy womb, so as not to give thee fruit in Yisra'el. And Hannah was grieved exceedingly, and put off her garments of mourning, and cleaned her head, and put on her wedding garments, and about the ninth nour went down to the garden to walk. And she saw a laurel, and sat under it, and prayed to the Lord, saying : O God of our fathers, bless me and hear my prayer, as Thou didst bless the womb of Sarah, and didst give her a son Yitzchak.

Nazareth, postcard by Fadil Saba

RAPHAEL: ca. 1506

  3 And gazing towards the heaven, she saw a sparrow's nest in the laurel, and made a lamentation in herself, saying: Alas! who begot me? and what womb produced me? because I have become a curse in the presence of the sons of Yisra'el, and I have been reproached, and they have driven me in derision out of the temple of the Lord. Alas ! to what have I been likened? I am not like the fowls of the heaven, because even the fowls of the heaven are productive before Thee, O Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like the beasts of the earth, because even the beasts of the earth are productive before Thee, O Lord. Alas! to what have I been likened? I am not like these waters, because even these waters are productive before Thee, O Lord. Alas ! to what have I been kened ? I am not like this earth, because even the earth bringeth forth its fruits in season, and blesseth Thee, O Lord. even these waters are productive before Thee, O Lord. Alas ! to what have I been likened ? I am not like this earth, because even the earth bringeth forth its fruits in season, and blesseth Thee, O Lord.' Alas! to what have 1 been likened? I am not like the waves of the sea, because even the waves of the sea, in calm and storm, and the fishes in them, bless Thee, O Lord.
The Annunciation to Joachim and Anna
by Ferrari Gaudenzio
   4 And, behold, an angel of the Lord stood by, saying: Hannah, Hannah, the Lord hath heard thy prayer, and thou shalt conceive, and shalt bring forth; and thy seed shall be spoken of in all the world. And Hannah said: As the Lord my God lives, if I beget either male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God; and it shall minister to Him in holy things all the days of its life.'' And, behold, two angels came, saying to her : Behold, Ioachim thy husband is coming with his shepherds, and sheep, and goats, and oxen. For an angel of the Lord went down to him, saying: Ioachim, Ioachim, the Lord God hath heard thy prayer. Go down hence; for, behold, thy wife Hannah shall conceive. And Ioachim went down and called his shepherds, saying : Bring me hither ten she-lambs without spot or blemish, and they shall be for the Lord my God; and bring me twelve tender calves, and they shall be for the priests and the elders; and a hundred goats for all the people. And, behold, Ioachim came with his flocks; and Hannah stood by the gate, and saw Ioachim coming, and she ran and hung upon his neck, saying: Now I know that the Lord God hath blessed me exceedingly; for, behold, the widow no longer a widow, and I the childless shall conceive. And Ioachim rested the first day in his house.

FRA ANGELICO  (1428-1430)
     5 And on the following day he brought his offerings, saying in himself: If the Lord God has been rendered gracious to me, the plate on the priest's forehead will make it manifest to me. And Ioachim brought his offerings, and observed attentively the priest's plate when he went up to the altar of the Lord, and he saw no sin in himself. And Ioachim said: Now I know that the Lord has been gracious unto me, and has remitted all my sins. And he went down from the temple of the Lord justified, and departed to his own house. And her months were fulfilled, and in the ninth month Hannah brought forth. And she said to the midwife: What have I brought forth? and she said: A girl. And said Hannah: My soul has been magnified this day. And she laid her down. And the days having been fulfilled, Hannah was purified, and gave the breast to the child, and called her name Miryam.

RAPHAEL: Ansidei Altarpiece, ca. 1505
  6 And the child grew strong day by day; and when she was six months old, her mother set her on the ground to try whether she could stand, and she walked seven steps and came into her bosom ; and she snatched her up, saying: As the Lord my God lives, thou shalt not walk on this earth until I bring thee into the temple of the Lord. And she made a sanctuary in her bed-chamber, and allowed nothing common or unclean to pass through her. And she called the undefiled daughters of the Hebrews, and they attended her. And when she was a year old, Ioachim made a great feast, and invited the priests, and the scribes, and the elders,
and all the people of Yisra'el. And Ioachim brought the child to the priests; and they blessed her, saying : O God of our fathers, bless this child, and give her an everlasting name to be named in all generations. And all the people said: So be it, so be it, amen. And he brought her to the chief priests; and they blessed her, saying: O God most high, look upon this child, and bless her with the utmost blessing, which shall be for ever. And her mother snatched her up, and took her into the sanctuary of her bed-chamber, and gave her the breast. And Hannah made a song to the Lord God, saying: I will sing a song to the Lord my God, for He hath looked upon me, and hath taken away the reproach of mine enemies; and the Lord hath given me the fruit of His righteousness, singular in its kind, and richly endowed before Him. Who will tell the sons of Rubim that Hannah gives suck? Hear, hear, ye twelve tribes of Yisra'el, that Hannah gives suck. And she laid her to rest in the bed-chamber of her sanctuary, and went out and ministered unto them. And when the supper was ended, theywent down rejoicing, and glorifying the God of Yisra'el.

Holy Family (The Virgin of the Good Milk)
EL GRECO  1594-1604

  7 And her months were added to the child. And the child was two years old, and Ioachim said: Let us take her up to the temple of the Lord, that we may pay the vow that we have vowed, lest perchance the Lord depart from us, and our offering be not received. And Hannah said: Let us wait for the third year, in order that the child may not seek for father or mother. And Ioachim said: So let us wait. And the child was three years old, and Ioachim said: Invite the daughters of the Hebrews that are undefiled, and let them take each a lamp, and let them stand with the lamps burning, that the child may not turn back, and her heart be captivated from the temple of the Lord. And they did so until they went up into the temple of the Lord. And the priest received her, and kissed her, and blessed her, saying: The Lord has magnified thy name in all generations. In thee, on the last of the days, the Lord will manifest His redemption to the sons of Yisra'el. And he set her down upon the third step of the altar, and the Lord God sent grace upon her ; and she danced with her feet, and all the house of Yisra'el loved her.

Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives

  8 And her parents went down marvelling, and praising the Lord God, because the child had not turned back. And Miryam was in the temple of the Lord as if she were a dove that dwelt there, and she received food from the hand of an angel. And when she was twelve years old there was held a council of the priests, saying: Behold, Miryam has reached the age of twelve years in the temple of the Lord. What then shall we do with her, lest perchance she defile the sanctuary of the Lord? And they said to the high priest: Thou standest by the altar of the Lord; go in, and pray concerning her; and whatever the Lord shall manifest unto thee, that also will we do. And the high priest went in, taking the robe with the twelve bells into the holy of holies; and he prayed concerning her. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by him, saying unto him: Zekharyah, Zekharyah, go out and assemble the widowers of the people, and let them bring each his rod; and to whomsoever the Lord shall show a sign, his wife shall she be. And the heralds went out through all the circuit of Judea and the trumpet of the Lord sounded, and all ran.

Model of Jerusalem in the Late 2nd Temple Period.

   9 And Yosef, throwing away his axe, went out to meet them; and when they had assembled, they went away to the high priest, taking with them their rods. And he, taking the rods of all of them, entered into the temple, and prayed; and having ended his prayer, he took the rods and came out, and gave them to them: but there was no sign in them, and Yosef took his rod last; and, behold, a dove came out of the rod, and flew upon Yosef''s head. And the priest said to Yosef, Thou hast been chosen by lot to take into thy keeping the virgin of the Lord. But Yosef refused, saying: I have children, and I am an old man, and she is a young girl. I am afraid lest I become a laughing-stock to the sons of Yisra'el. And the priest said to Yosef: Fear the Lord thy God, and remember what the Lord did to Datan, and Aviram, and Korach; how the earth opened, and they were swallowed up on account of their contradiction. And now fear, O Yosef, lest the same things happen in thy house. And Yosef was afraid, and took her into his keeping. And Yosef said to Miryam: Behold, I have received thee from the temple of the Lord; and now I leave thee in my house, and go away to build my buildings, and I shall come to thee. The Lord will protect thee.


Adoration of the Trinity (or Landauer Altar)
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria
 Vini, Vini Emmanuel

Veni, Veni, Emmanuel!
Captivum solve Israel!
Qui gemit in exilio,
Privatus Dei filio,
Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel!

Veni, O Jesse Virgula!
Ex hostis Tuos Ungula,
De specu Tuos Tartari
Educ, et antro barathri.
Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel!

Veni, Veni, O Oriens!
Solare nos adveniens,
Noctis depelle nebulas,
Dirasque noctis tenebras.
Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel!

Veni, Clavis Davidica!
Regna reclude coelica,
Fac iter tutum superum,
Et claude vias inferum.
Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel!

Veni, Veni, Adonai!
Quo populo in Sinai
Legem dedisti vertice
In majestate gloriae.
Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel!

Earthrise from Apollo 8
Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1968.
      Vs. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 translation by Rev. J. M. Nealin Hymns in Ancient and Modern, 36. The following is from the 1940 Hymnal of the Episcopal Church.

  1. O Come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel;
That mourns in lonely exile here.
Until the Son of God appear.
      Rejoice ! Rejoice ! Emmanuel
      Shall come to thee, O Israel!

*2. O come, thou Wisdom from on high,
Who ord'rest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
      Rejoice ! Rejoice ! Emmanuel
      Shall come to thee, O Israel!

A 'Rose Made of Galaxies
 Imaged on Dec. 17, 2010, with
Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3).
  3. O come, O come, Thou Lord of Might!
Who to thy tribes, on Sinai's height,
In ancient times didst give the law,
In cloud, and majesty, and awe.
      Rejoice ! Rejoice ! Emmanuel
      Shall come to thee, O Israel!

  4. O come. Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save.
And give them victory o'er the grave.
      Rejoice ! Rejoice ! Emmanuel
      Shall come to thee, O Israel!

  5. O come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high.
And close the path to misery.
      Rejoice ! Rejoice ! Emmanuel
      Shall come to thee, O Israel!
Bending the Light

  6. O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and chear
Our spirits by Thine Advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night. 
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
      Rejoice ! Rejoice ! Emmanuel
      Shall come to thee, O Israel!

*7. O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid thou our sad divisions cease,
And be thyself our King of Peace.
      Rejoice ! Rejoice ! Emmanuel
      Shall come to thee, O Israel!

      The "O" Antiphons from which the Hymn is taken, first in the original Latin, then two English translations, with the date as appointed in the Roman Breviary (vol. 1, p. 244):

Dec. 17:
      O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodisti attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: Veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.
      O Wisdom, That comest out of the mouth of the Most High, That reachest fromone end to another, and dost mightily and sweetly order all things: come, to teach us the way of prudence!
O WISDOM, Who o're earth below,
Forth from the Mouth of God didst flow,
Draw nigh and help us when we call,
And strongly, sweetly order all;
The path of prudence teach, that we
May dwell eternally with Thee.
Dec. 18:
      O Adonai! et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti, Vini ad redimendum nos in brachio intento.
      O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai: come, to redeem us with an outstretched arm!
RULER and Lord, draw nigh, draw nigh!
Who to Thy flock on Sinai
Didst give, of ancient times, Thy Law,
In cloud, and majesty, and awe.
Draw nigh, draw nigh, with us to dwell,
And save, O God, Thine Israel.
Dec. 19:
      O Radix Jesse, Qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem gentes depracabuntur, Veni ad redimendum nos, Jam noli tardare.
      O Root of Jesse, Which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, unto Whom the Gentiles shall seek; come, to deliver us, make no tarrying!
O ROD of Jesse's stem, arise,
And save us from our enemies;
And set us free from Satan's chains,
And from the pit with all its pains.
Draw nigh, draw nigh, with us to dwell,
In haste to save Thine Israel.
Dec. 20:
      O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel! qui aperis et nemo claudit, claudis et nemo aperit, Veni et educ vinctum de domo carceris sedentem in tenebris et umbra noctis!
      O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel; That openest, and no man shutteth; and shuttest, and no man openeth: cometo bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death!
KEY of the house of David, come!
Reopen Thou our heavenly home;
Make save the way that we must go,
And close the paths that lead below.
Draw nigh, draw nigh, with us to dwell,
And save us, Lord, from sin and hell.
Dec. 21:
      O Oriens! Splendor lucis aeternae, et Sol justitiae!  Veni et illumina sedentes in tenebris et umbra noctis!
      O Day-spring, Brightness of the everlasting Light, Sun of Righteousness, come, to give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death!
O MORNING Star, arise, draw nigh,
To give us comfort from on high;
Drive Thou away the gloov of night,
And pierce the clouds, and bring us light.
Draw nigh, draw nigh, with us to dwell,
In mercy save Thine Israel.
Dec. 22:
      O Rex gentium, et desideratus earum, Lapisque angularis qui facis utraque unum: Veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.
      O King of the Gentiles, yea, and Desire thereof, O Cornerstone that makest of twain one: come, to save man, whom Thou has made of the dust of the earth!
O THOU on Whom the Gentiles wait,
Who midst the nations shalt be great,
Thy Church's chief and corner-stone,
Who in Thyself hast made all one;
Oh come and save, for Thine own sake,
Mankind whom Thou of dust didst make!
Dec. 23:
      O Emmanuel! Rex et Legifer noster, Expectatio gentium, et desideratus earum, Veni ad salvandum nos, Domine Deus noster!
      O Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and Salvation thereof: come to save us, O Lord our God!
DRAW nigh, draw nigh, Immanuel!
And loose Thy captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! rejoice! Immanuel
Comes now to thee, O Israel.