Monday, December 27, 2004

News of the World

The interest in Christmas here seems almost an obsession, but the world demands its due:
Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long:
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor with hath power to charm,
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time.

Shakespeare, Hamlet

The news this morning now doubles the estimated dead in Asia, from 10,000 last night to 21,000 this morning. What can one say about such things, except to offer help, and to offer prayers? In the face of this, words are small indeed.

And, completely unrelated, a new poll finds 56% of the American people think if cost of war outweighs the benefits, which is some measure of comfort in what seemed a country saturated with violence and the fever of destruction and raw exercise of power. On this day between the remembrance of Stephen and the massacre of the Innocents, that gives some reassurance about the American character. A character that clings to practicality, or what seems practical, anyway; as "58 percent still say U.S. forces should remain in Iraq until order is restored."

Even as the Secretary of Defense himself says that the presence of U.S. troops is the destabilizing influence, and so refuses to countenance sending in even more troops (which is nearly impossible without a draft, anyway).

Ignatius wrote about the Nativity of Christ, in his letter to the Ephesians:

Thence was destroyed all magic,
and every bond vanished;
evil's ignorance was abolished,
the old kingdom perished,
God being revealed as human
to bring newness of eternal life,
and what had been prepared by God
had its beginning;
hence all things were disturbed
because the destruction of death was being worked out.

Soon, soon. But as always for us, never soon enough.

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