(Neil, here). This will have to be my last post for this year. My posting will also have to be infrequent in January. Since I will not be online later this month, let me wish all of you – especially Todd and his family – a blessed Christmas and New Year. I am grateful to everyone who reads and comments here for helping me meditate on what Todd, in describing this blog, has called “the important things.” In the unlikely event that you wish to read a couple posts of mine on Christmas during the next week, I would recommend my post on the theological significance of Christmas from last year, as well as my post on St Ephrem the Syrian and the infancy of Jesus from a little while ago. But I am sure that others have posted more eloquent things elsewhere.
Actually, I think that the very best things written on Christmas are the last verses of Charles Wesley’s “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,” which are not always sung. (I’ve written on Charles Wesley here.) Wesley’s original lyrics from Hymns and Sacred Poems (1739), which, of course, predate the familiar Mendelssohn tune, end:
Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conquering seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to thine.
Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface;
Stamp Thy image in its place.
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the life, the inner Man:
O! to all thyself impart,
Form’d in each believing heart.