Adventus

"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"...doesn't philosophy amount to the sum of all thinkable and unthinkable errors, ceaselessly repeated?"--Jean-Luc Marion

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Or Do They?

The eagle-eyed will note:
...the tweet quoted here is 13 days old.
This one, which Trump retweeted, is 11 days old. The Senate is still in recess, so this tweet is badly dated.
And this one (also retweeted by Trump) is 9 days old. Apparently that's all Trump (or Scavino) could find to salve Trump's ego. And the Senators are being granted a holiday by the Speaker.

More and more I think Speaker Pelosi should hold the articles until Feb. 5th.

And by the way, the answer is "No," his tweets don't matter:

Because It Matters


Sailing Into the Night

Just a reminder: winter has only started.
And our President insists on his version of reality:

Small man with small stick speaks very loudly, says nothing.



Like Turkey did, for invading Syria?

This is not a threat, it's empty bluster.  Remember when you threw missiles into Syria?  And then Syria realized you weren't going to do it again?  As even you admit, most of the security at the embassy is due to Iraq (as it should be).  And, just like Benghazi, you're sending in a similar number of troops after the trouble is over.

Did they drag you off the golf course for this?  Or away from your phone, since the incident happened much earlier today, and you found time to send out several tweets about Pelosi and comments on FoxNews?

The attacks on the embassy started today; but it was almost 8 hours between Trump's first tweet and his declaration that this isn't Benghazi.
Little man with little stick speaking loudly, not saying anything at all.


 Is North Korea going to "pay a very BIG PRICE!", too?
Idiot.


Ending the Year as It Began


Now that he's dead, we know he was "crazy" and shouldn't have had a gun, right?

We knew that before:

The suspect who killed two at a Texas church on Sunday reportedly received help from the church before the attack, but would get angry when officials refused to give him cash. Minister Britt Farmer told The Christian Chronicle that he recognized the suspect, 43-year-old Keith Thomas Kinnunen, after seeing a photo of him wearing a disguise that included a fake beard, a wig, a long coat, and hat. According to Farmer, the congregation helped Kinnunen out with food on “several occasions.” “He gets mad when we won’t give him cash. He’s been here on multiple occasions,” Farmer said. The Associated Press reports that Kinnunen had an extensive criminal record that should have prevented him from legally buying a shotgun, which he used to kill two worshippers at West Freeway Church of Christ. A 71-year-old deacon of security at the church shot Kinnunen in the head during the incident, killing him. Authorities say Kinnunen’s motive is still under investigation, and they declined to say how he was able to obtain the firearm.

A distinctly illegal firearm, I'd warrant:
The gunman, identified by authorities as Keith Thomas Kinnunen, 43, slipped into the Sunday service wearing a long black wig, a fake beard and a bulky jacket, witnesses said.

During the Lord’s Supper, Kinnunen pulled out a modified, 12-gauge shotgun with a pistol grip, Farmer told The Christian Chronicle.
Maybe because guns in this country are as common as grass and as easy to obtain as a pack of gum?


So which is the good thing?  That he's dead?  Or that he only killed 2 people?

Shit?



Or go blind?
Let me reiterate:  questions like this go to Chief Justice John Roberts first.

While a majority of the Senate could vote to overturn the Chief Justice’s ruling, any evidentiary/privilege ruling by him would have a presumption that it was correct. As a political matter, it would be difficult for many Republican senators to vote to overturn an evidentiary ruling by the Chief that is based on the law. (That is different than a motion to dismiss because the evidence is insufficient, where it is the senators’ role to evaluate the weight of the evidence.) Only a handful of Republican senators would have to vote to uphold the Chief Justice’s ruling for a majority to sustain the ruling that testimony or documents should be compelled.
The difference with a Motion to Dismiss is that it has to be made AFTER the evidence is presented, not before.  So the case can't be "disbursed without the necessity of a trial" (He means dismissed.  A good lawyer Blakeman is not.)  If the evidence is insufficient, it has to be presented first in order to be determined to be insufficient.  That leads us back to the other role Roberts will play as Presiding Officer.

The rules provide that the House managers can issue subpoenas to anyone, presumably including Bolton and Mulvaney. A senator could object that the testimony is irrelevant or covered by privilege. Rule VII provides that a ruling on such questions will usually be made by the Presiding Officer – the Chief Justice, unless he refers the decision to the full Senate. The Chief Justice would likely decide, in the first instance, claims of executive privilege or attorney-client privilege. He would also likely decide questions such as the crime/fraud exception and the co-conspirator exception to the hearsay rule, as well as questions of waiver of any privilege. Finally, he would rule on subpoenas for the production of documents. 
Trump is going to get his trial whether he wants it or not.

Question: Answer


(How else is he going to end the year?)
(Still seven days until January 6 [Senate returns for business]; and there's a good argument circulating for Pelosi waiting until February 5 to deliver the articles to the Senate.  Which would be after Trump's scheduled SOTU.  Besides, there's the NYT story Trump is completely ignoring, even though he allegedly reads the NYT religiously.)

New Year's Eve 2019



Time is told by death, who doubts it?  But time is always halved--for all we know, it is halved--by the eye-blink, the synapse, the immeasurable moment of the present.  Time is only the past and maybe the future; the present moment, dividing and connecting them, is eternal.  The time of the past is there, somewhat, but only somewhat, to be remembered and examined.  We believe that the future is there too, for it keeps arriving, though we know nothing about it.  But try to stop the present for your patient scrutiny, or to measure its length with your most advanced chronometer.  It exists, so far as I can tell, only as a leak in time, through which, if we are quiet enough, eternity falls upon us and makes its claim.  And here I am, an old man, traveling as a child among the dead.

We measure time by its deaths, yes, and by its births.  For time is told also by life.  As some depart, others come.  The hand opened in farewell remains open in welcome.  I, who once had grandparents and parents, now have children and grandchildren.  Like the flowing river that is yet always present, time that is always going is always coming.  And time that is told by death and birth is held and redeemed by love, which is always present.  Time, then, is told by love's losses, and by the coming of love, and by love continuing in gratitude for what is lost.  It is folded and enfolded and unfolded forever and ever, the love by which the dead are alive and the unborn welcomed into the womb.  The great question for the old and the dying, I think, is not if they have loved and been loved enough, but if they have been grateful enough for love received and given, however much.  No one who has gratitude is the onliest one.  Let us pray to be grateful to the last.


--Wendell Berry, Andy Catlett:  Early Travels

Offered Without Further Comment



Those People Died

 
...to prove more people should carry guns!

2019 Goes Out With A Whimper








I'm old enough to remember

...when this kind of shooting was unthinkable, and we credited the laws with making it so. Apparently the only solution is to arm still more Americans

Monday, December 30, 2019

Surely the base liked it!

He seems nice.

And still he's leading in the polls

Coders make as much as miners, right?

That's a helluva lot if malarkey.

That would be...

...this guy:

Although this is what everyone is talking about



MSNBC wants to be sure we don't neglect the horse race.
Meanwhile, a reminder that January 6 is still 7 days away. And Nancy Pelosi is better at this than anyone in D.C.

December 30


The threefold terror of love; a fallen flare
Through the hollow of an ear;
Wings beating about the room;
The terror of all terrors that I bore
The Heavens in my womb.

Had I not found content among the shows
Every common woman knows,
Chimney corner, garden walk,
Or rocky cistern where we tread the clothes
And gather all the talk?

What is this flesh I purchased with my pains,
This fallen star my milk sustains,
This love that makes my heart’s blood stop
Or strikes a sudden chill into my bones
And bids my hair stand up?

--W.B. Yeats

Sunday, December 29, 2019

GOP's Fear of Its Base

...could be a problem. And this could be true as well:
The full thread there is worth reading.

Capitalism is Great!


Gee, whatever could make the kids think Communism was worth a try?

Enemies List



I understand he is appealing to his"base," and using that base to scare Republicans. (The weird concern for the homeless is especially bizarre.) But that's not going to save him or incumbent Republicans in 2020.

The Problem Is....

...commentary like this is rather blithely ignorant that the people scaring them now, have been around since 1776. And have been on somebody's radar screen (the FBI and the KKK; the SPLC) for a long time.

And when these fringe groups fade from public notice again after Trump loses in 2020, so will commentary like this, which so boldly predicts a future that is not coming. They will go back to pronouncing how the earth is flat and trade is the salvation of civilization, and racism is no more.

We have a name for "fair weather patriots." We need one for pundits who think the world is only the part they live in or read about in the NYT.

Besides, I'm old enough to remember that, before he was canonized in death as a secular American saint, Dr. King was a dangerous "agitator" deserving of the disdain of all who represented a "decline in our public discourse, politics, and civics." One has only to read his famous letter from Birmingham jail to see he was taken that way in his lifetime. From a jail cell, an accused criminal, he writes to justify his "direct action" that so many whites saw as uncivil and even damaging to the national fabric. There was just as much hand-wringing then, fearful of a future which is now our past.
Anti-semitism is on the rise, and we are right to oppose it. We would be wrong to fear it meant we were one step away from Nazi Germany, however. Fear will paralyze us. Opposition to evil that is here now, is what will move us to action

It's Cute He Thinks

...she's paying attention to this.

Just ask her out already!

December 29



Because you are God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with heartfelt mercy, with kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.  Bear with one another; forgive whatever grievances you have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you.  Over all these virtues put on love, which binds the rest together and makes them perfect.  Christ's peace must reign in your hearts, since s members of the one body you have been called to that peace.  Dedicate yourselves to thankfulness.  Let the word of Christ, rich as it is, dwell in you, in wisdom made perfect, instruct and admonish one another.  Sing gratefully to God from your heart, in psalms, hymns, and inspired songs.  Whatever you do, whether in speech or in action, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Give thanks to God the Father through him.

--Colossians 3:12-1

Saturday, December 28, 2019

What is the difference between acting...

...and being?

Random Twitter Noise






I know how to embed tweets

...and that's all. So I have no idea how Twitter works. But this situation pours to the POTUS spending many big his waking hours on Twitter. Wehn he's not playing golf or committing crimes on the White House driveway, that is.

When asked, Trump insists he does nothing but work. His actions indicate otherwise, and actions certainly speak louder than words.

This is the language

...of Timothy McVeigh; of Dylann Roof; of any Neo-Nazi group preparing for a "race war." I think it was even the motivation of the killer who drove to El Paso to shoot "Mexicans" (never understood why he didn't just look around Dallas. People of Mexican ancestry gave been here since the battle of San Jacinto.).

Not that these people aren't dangerous, but the primary danger is that they think the man in the Oval Office is one of theirs. I don't think he is, because Donald Trump is only for Donald Trump. The civil war or race war they expect us not coming, nor is the defeat of Donald Trump going to trigger it. If anyone, in the end, is responsible for this danger, we the people are. We have abandoned all effort at building a nation, content to pursue our own selfish interests, deluding ourselves that "the market" and "enlightened self-interest" (which is just a comforting euphemism for "selfishness") will take of everything for us. "O machine! O machine!"

The nature of our democracy is that "we the people" are responsible. That means we are also our brother's keeper, and we carry the burden of the dangerous idiots among us. Ignoring them, leaving their danger to the police, tolerating them because "you can't fix stupid," is not a choice we have. If we are the government, then we are responsible for public safety, and chalking these dangerous idiots up to "the price of freedom" is no more defensible than trading childrens' lives for the "freedom" to "keep and bear arms."

We gotta get better at this. If the last 3 years have taught us anything, they've taught us that much.

Here is a fine example of exploiting the "inside/outside" argument. We can't eliminate the idea; but we can make our public figures pay a price for trading in it.
Surely Sen. Rubio has better uses for his public platform.

Anybody But Trump

I don't favor Joe Biden for the Presidency, but I do prefer him as a candidate over Warren or Sanders purely for practical reasons. Yes, we need attention to domestic issues like healthcare and immigration, but I don't see Warren or Sanders repairing the damage Trump has done overseas as effectively as we need it. I also don't see them running all that well against Trump.

If Biden abandons that "No Malarkey" crap and stands up to Trump like this (read all 3 tweets), it will end Trump more quickly than Joseph Welch ended McCarthy, though for the same reason.

December 28



Santa Claus is for children, and Christmas Day is for children; but the whole story of Christmas is not.

When Herod realized he had been duped by the astrologers, he was outraged. He then issued a death warrant for all the male children in Bethlehem and surrounding region two years old and younger. this corresponded to the time [of the star] that he had learned from the astrologers. With this event the prediction made by Jeremiah the prophet came true:
'In Ramah the sound of mourning
and bitter grieving was heard:
Rachel weeping for her children.
She refused to be consoled:
They were no more.' " (Matthew 2: 16-18, SV)
I was scolded once for forgetting that Christmas, publicly, is for children; that children are present in the church, and must be protected from the realities of adult life. It was right and proper that this should happen; the pulpit I preached from was not my own, I took liberties I had no right to take. But Advent and Christmas are seasons steeped in mystery and the whole of the human story, from joy to misery, from peace to pain. We shield our children from these truths, so we can shield ourselves. We pretend God is only about love and peace and our happiness, and complain that the God of Israel is a god of blood and thunder, while the God of Jesus is a god of babies and rainbows. Neither simplicity is true, and the simplicity of the Christmas story, that it begins with the Annunciation to Mary and ends with the angels singing Gloria to the shepherds, is too simple to be true, also. Luke tells one story of the birth, where the power of the state forces the Holy Family to Bethlehem but that power merely fulfills the expectation that the redeemer of the line of David will come from the ancestral home of David. Matthew tells the other story; the story of Herod's fear and insecurity. This is the part of Christmas the world doesn't celebrate. This is the part of Christmas we ignore, for the sake of the children, we tell ourselves; but it's really for our sake. Just as we don't want Advent blighted with the deaths of the innocent, we don't want Christmas spent remembering the Holy Innocents.

This is truly the Church's portion of Christmas. Appropriate to the interests of the church, Walter Brueggeman would call Herod's concerns the theology of scarcity, and point out it's a very old game, even in Biblical history. It is a game we blame on God; but it is one entirely of our making, and it ties the story of the Holy Innocents to our secular observation of Christmas, and our cri de couer for someone to tell us what Christmas is all about. This story, is what it is all about. And the Coventry Carol captures it in one song:

Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child,
bye, bye, lully lullay.

O sisters too, how may we do,
for to preserve this day,
this poor youngling for whom we sing,
bye, bye lully lullay.

Herod the king in his raging,
charged he hath this day,
his men of night, in his own sight,
all young children to slay.

Then woe is me, poor child, for thee!
And every morn and day,
for thy parting not say nor sing
bye, bye, lully lullay.

Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child,
bye, bye, lully lullay.

It is the only remnant of the story that still makes it into our Advent and Christmas music, though we may not always recognize the story and the reason it is a "Christmas carol." In another medieval play, “The Play of Herod,” they take the story even more seriously. To portray the story from Matthew, an angel is sent from God to console Rachel, but she refuses even the aid of God. She refuses all comfort. Of course she does; she is a grieving mother, her children are gone. What comfort can be offered to her? This is real; this has happened. What else could be felt, except bottomless grief, except the sucking, horrible pain of loss?

This is not Matthew reaching for yet another scriptural reference to support his nativity story. This is not Matthew trying to shore up his tale with yet another appeal to authority. This is Matthew telling us he has no words for this horror, and he must borrow words just to be sure we feel it as it was felt by those grieving mothers and fathers. This is not Matthew telling us this is true, because scriptures predicted it. This is Matthew telling us someone else, someone earlier, described it, caught the horror of it, knew what it felt like. This is Matthew telling us this is real. This is Matthew telling us to believe this birth occurred, because the world is not kind to saviors, even when they are babies. The world does not seek salvation, but its own contentment; and it does not react well to mystery.

So Rachel cannot be comforted, but that is not where "The Play of Herod" ends. It ends where it should: in holy mystery.
For there is a Te Deum sung: 'We praise you, God, we confess you as Lord.' The greatest chant of praise. This is sung by Mary and Joseph, processing through the audience, but they are joined in their song and procession by the animals and the angels, by the shepherds, by the lamenting Rachel and the parents of Bethlehem, and they are joined by the soldiers and their victims and by Herod. Knowing that (Hopkins again)

we are wound
With mercy round and round. . . .

they all, incarnate God and all creation, even death, tyrants and martyrs, all process and all sing praise. And we sing too, and find ourselves in the procession.

Today we can't imagine it. We take our Christmas with lots of sugar. And take it in a day. Though we've been baptized into his death, we have little time for or patience with how that death is told at Christmas, a death that confuses lament and praise forever. And no wonder we are careful to keep Christmas at an arm's length. What is Herod in these times?--Gabe Huck
Or, to return to Luke:

Now, Lord, you are releasing your servant in peace,
according to your promise.
For I have seen with my own eyes
the deliverance you have made
ready in full view of all nations;
a light that will bring revelation to the Gentiles
and glory to your people Israel.
But that's not the end of Luke's nativity, because Simeon turns back to Maty:

And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;

(Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
Even in Luke's more beautiful, more popular version, we cannot escape it: the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God, and the penetrating mystery at the heart of the season, just as the year begins again.

Cages. All The cages.

It Rained on Trump's Golf Course On Friday

7 tweets about Speaker Pelosi, of pretty much this caliber:
Ten of this quality:
One by Giuliani, doing his best Tailgunner Joe impression:
And one that's just really pathetic:

Yes, there does. But don't expect anyone to notice:
And it's still 9 days until January 6.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Attacking a Movie

... because your real-life actions are indefensible. The movie is based in the 6700 page "Senate Intelligence Committee Report on CIA Torture." And Pompeo calls it "fiction".

Who to believe?  Who to believe?

(He also insists the CIA were not "bad guys." When they engaged in torture they were. Absolutely and with no equivocation.)

But We Love Our Insurance Companies

December 27: Minstrel's Song


I've just had an astonishing dream as I lay in the straw.
I dreamed a star fell on to the straw beside me
And lay blazing. Then when I looked up
I saw a bull come flying through a sky of fire
And on its shoulders a huge silver woman
Holding the moon. And afterwards there came
A donkey flying through that same burning heaven
And on its shoulders a colossal man
Holding the sun. Suddenly I awoke
And saw a bull and a donkey kneeling in the straw,
and the great moving shadows of a man and a woman---
I say they were a man and a woman but
I dare not say what I think they were. I did not dare to look.
I ran out here into the freezing world
Because I dared not look. Inside that shed.

A star is coming this way along the road.
If I were not standing upright, this would be a dream.
A star the shaped of a sword of fired, point-downward,
Is floating along the road. And now it rises.
It is shaking fire on to the roofs and the gardens.
And now it rises above the animal shed
Where I slept till the dream woke me. And now
The star is standing over the animal shed.

--Ted Hughes

QED

Corey Booker is the Chris Christie of the Democratic party, without the bridge scandal.

The NYC region is not the rest of America, nor the breeding ground for politicians on their way to national office. Period.

But so many people with megaphones still think so.

December 27



It was John who taught us all Greek: "En archain hain ho logos: In the beginning, was the Word." Not the language, but the concept: the idea of Christ as word, as Logos, as organizing principle of creation. He meant it, in his gospel, to be a shattering of order, the presence of this ordering principle. But it was another John who led us, through words, to a shattering vision of the Nativity:

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven 8eads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she hrought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 12.

Not something often connected with the Nativity; but it is as natal as the first words of the gospel of John. The poet Ted Hughes used it to great effect for his "Minstrel's Song." A reminder that this season, for Christians, is about shattering change and the establishment of a new order; not one to come, as many seem to believe, but one that has already come, a kingdom that is already here. We do not hasten this vision by exerting our power over human life. We only hasten away from this vision, when we fail to recognize it describes what has already happened.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Diplomacy is hard! So is Presidenting!

He only said this because Congress is being so mean to him!

In other news:
The Senate continues to be in recess until January 6, 2020.

Deja vu all over again, again

The Bernie supporters NYT found in Iowa are Bernie or bust.

Isn't this how we got Trump?

There was a dog in the manger?

This one was seen, but you probably didn't like it.


And it's still a better message than a dog in the manger.  Much closer to the message that SHOULD have changed all humanity.

Even though I still like dogs.

Yes...

I'm also looking for the article in the Constitution that supports the "analysis" in the tweet.

"It's money that matters/In the U.S.A.!"

in a just society this kind of cruel indifference to whole regions of the country would not be allowed to prevail. We are just talking about upstate New York or bucolic Vermont: there are whole regions of the country with few large cities. This kind of "brain drain" harms the entire country.

"Hear what I say!"

December 26


South of the Line, inland from far Durban,
A mouldering soldier lies--your countryman.
Awry and doubled up are his gray bones,
And on the breeze his puzzled phantom moans
Nightly to clear Canopus: "I would know
By whom and when the All-Earth-gladdening Law
Of Peace, brought in by that Man Crucified,
Was ruled to be inept, and set aside?

And what of logic or of truth appears
In tacking 'Anno Domini' to the years?
Near twenty-hundred livened thus have hied,
But tarries yet the Cause for which He died."

--Thomas Hardy

Boxing Day

Um...do you mean diplomacy like this?

December 26


First, the reason for the feast day.  It commemorates Stephen, the first martyr of the church:

54 When they heard these things, they became enraged and ground their teeth at Stephen. 55 But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57 But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. 58 Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died.  (Acts 7:54-60)

We remember this, if at all, because of the song:

Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even;

Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight,
Gath'ring winter fuel.

'Hither, page, and stand by me,
If thou know'st it, telling
Yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?'

'Sire, he lives a good league hence,
Underneath the mountain,
Right against the forest fence,
By Saint Agnes' fountain.'

'Bring me flesh and bring me wine,
Bring me pine logs hither,
Thou and I will see him dine
When we bear them thither.'

Page and monarch forth they went,
Forth they went together,
Through the rude wind's wild lament
And the bitter weather.

'Sire, the night is darker now
And the wind blows stronger;
Fails my heart, I know not how,
I can go no longer.'

'Mark my footsteps, good my page,
Tread thou in them boldly:
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly.'

In his master's steps he trod,
Where the snow lay dinted;
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed.

Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor
Shall yourselves find blessing.

Which, if turns out, was written in 1853 to a 13th century tune.

The carol was written for the Feast of St Stephen, better known as Boxing Day. And it celebrates the long tradition of charitable giving on the Second Day of Christmas.

That "long tradition" is something else we've lost in America, thanks to the Puritans who despised Christmas and all traditions surrounding it.  As for Wenceslaus, he had a rough time of it:

Duke, martyr, and patron of Bohemia, born probably 903; died at Alt-Bunzlau, 28 September, 935.

His parents were Duke Wratislaw, a Christian, and Dragomir, a heathen. He received a good Christian education from his grandmother (St. Ludmilla) and at Budweis. After the death of Wratislaw, Dragomir, acting as regent, opposed Christianity, and Wenceslaus, being urged by the people, took the reins of government. He placed his duchy under the protection of Germany, introduced German priests, and favoured the Latin rite instead of the old Slavic, which had gone into disuse in many places for want of priests. Wenceslaus had taken the vow of virginity and was known for his virtues. The Emperor Otto I conferred on him the regal dignity and title. For religious and national motives, and at the instigation of Dragomir, Wenceslaus was murdered by his brother Boleslaw. The body, hacked to pieces, was buried at the place of murder, but three years later Boleslaw, having repented of his deed, ordered its translation to the Church of St. Vitus in Prague. The gathering of his relics is noted in the calendars on 27 June, their translation on 4 March; his feast is celebrated on 28 September.
There's a surprising amount of death on the Christian calendar after the celebration of the birth of the Christ-child.  It's almost a reminder that "peace on earth, goodwill toward" all, is not so much a gift as a hope that we have some part in.