Among the powers of the world, the Prince of Peace alone endures: the possessor of a kingdom "not of this world," as he memorably put it. Our own times, grossly material, like all modern times, have no inkling of how to welcome a prince disdainful of worldly power. And for the most part, we are disrespectful toward its employment.
Jesus -- the Babe of Bethlehem, Messiah, King of Kings and Lord of Lords -- is quite a morsel for modern appetites: dead yet alive, absent yet present, supremely powerful, while equal to the very lowest in his humanity. What's his foreign policy? ("Go ye therefore, and teach all nations ... ") How does he stand on QE2 and Medicaid and tax-cut extensions and health care? ("Blessed are the poor ... ") On crime? (Whosoever "is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment ... ")
The COPYHAsecular world knows nothing else like it. What it does know, it neither admires nor trusts. As the Babe of Bethlehem extends once more a tiny finger ready for grasping, the world holds back in anxiety.
So many worldly temptations already yielded to! So many chances for divine communion -- gone with the wind! What of this latest chance? What of the silent and holy night about to fall upon a still-anxious, still-unready world?