December 4, 2020

When is the time for love to be born?

Wintry. Photo by R. Crap Mariner

The Risk of Birth, Christmas 1973

This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war and hate
And a comet slashing the sky to warn
That time runs out and the sun burns late.

That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honour and truth were trampled by scorn–
Yet here did the Saviour make his home.

When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And by the comet the sky is torn–
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.

• Madeleine L’Engle
The Weather of the Heart


  1. Susan Dumbrell says

    It is no time for a child to be born in a refugee camp.

    Where is their Saviour?

    Our Saviour is very comfortably housed and warm and fed.

    Let the children come unto me.

    • And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. — Mark 9:42

    • Burro (Mule) says

      I would like to know when it is ever a good time for a child to be born in a refugee camp, or in a rural county decimated by opioids and unemployment, or into a civil war, or into a brutal occupation, but children have their own agenda and they come regardless.

      Ours is not the first age to make children cry.

      • Some observations on your linked video:

        From the child reading the poem:

        …and I wonder…
        I only wonder…
        Who is weak?
        And who is strong?
        Who is right?
        And who is wrong?
        And I wish..
        I only wish…
        That the truth has a tongue.

        I don’t think children exposed to war care who is right or what the truth is. They just want to fighting to stop.

        I wish you would not have chosen a propaganda video that could have come straight from Hamas. Note the pinned response from the video’s poster: “Palestine is crying”, not “children are crying”. I won’t even mention that the video exclusively shows Israeli soldiers and weaponry (oops! I just mentioned it).

        I am not saying that Israel is right in what they do to the Palestinians. I am saying that it is way more complicated than we know.

        There is a kind of light-hearted educational channel on YouTube called “Geography Now”. They profile every country in the world in 10-20 minute videos. The Israel video has one of most unbiased looks at the Israel-Palestine conflict I’ve ever seen. The particular part I’m referencing starts at about the 12:00 mark, but watch the whole video. It’s both educational and sort of fun. (The host speaks in a very rapid-fire manner, so listen closely and use rewind if necessary}

        • Burro (Mule) says

          I am saying that it is way more complicated than we know.

          As are the issues with our southern border, and certainly much more morally complex than the Christ Child/King Herod metaphors being tossed around here today.

          But I doubt anyone came here for a constructive discussion of immigration policy.

          Since there’s no substantial discussion to be had, I’ll just insult the usual suspects and leave.

          • I did not mention immigration. My response was strictly my thoughts on the posted video.

            Keep insulting the usual suspects. I’m sure that will foster constructive discussion.

        • What mother and father, what parents would let and from what is reported , encouraged to go throw rocks at tanks and armed soldiers on high alert. Golda Meir stated it well ” They hate us, more than they love their children.” Ken P. was responding to the video that was pure propaganda. As usual we start off with a good Christmas message and get the “very specific illegal alien children” into the conversation. I guess abused native born American children do not rate a concern or fit the agenda.

          I guess Joseph, Mary and Jesus avoided Egyptian customs and border security. Was Egypt not a part of the Roman Empire where free travel was allowed? That does not fit the narrative. At least Joseph returned to his native home and did not stay in Egypt , maybe Egypt had e verify or a poor welfare safety net.

          Well , at least USA agencies that enforce the laws of the USA have run the gauntlet of history’s villians, from Herod to Hitler as they enforce the legally passed laws of the country. Actually a good name for most the children of the caravan would be “ticket” as that is what they are to the parents.

          • As usual we start off with a good Christmas message and get the “very specific illegal alien children” into the conversation.

            God forbid we get too specific! Anything or anyone with a physical address could upset our equanimity, our spiritual interlude!

  2. Some times are worse than others.

    I think this is one of them.

    • Hello Eeyore,

      some worry about keeping the plight of refugee children out of our ponderings on the gospel of Christ, but they forget that Our Lord, as a small infant, was also a refugee child, taken into Egypt to flee from Herod who wanted Him dead . . . but Herod still tried, and so was the prophecy of Jeremiah fulfilled as many infants were slaughtered at his command:

      The Holy Gospel of St. Matthew tells us of this massacre:

      “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.” (St. Matthew 2:16)

      “Thus saith the Lord:
      A voice was heard on high of lamentation, of mourning, and weeping,
      of Rachel weeping for her children, and refusing to be comforted for them, because they are not.”
      (Jeremiah 31:15)

      So the sound of the weeping of mothers and children echoes down to us through the ages in the sacred Scriptures, and even now we hear the weeping of those who suffer from evil, unless we close our ears. And look away. And in our sadness keep ‘silent’ as is sometimes suggested by well-meaning people to ensure the comfort of those who are choosing to look away.

      There is something about sacred Scripture; something ‘transcendent’ and ‘timeless’ that does not encourage us to ‘look away’ and ‘keep silent’ at the suffering of others.



        We think of Him as safe beneath the steeple,
        Or cosy in a crib beside the font,

        But He is with a million displaced people
        On the long road of weariness and want.

        For even as we sing our final carol
        His family is up and on that road,

        Fleeing the wrath of someone else’s quarrel,
        Glancing behind and shouldering their load.

        Whilst Herod rages still from his dark tower
        Christ clings to Mary, fingers tightly curled,

        The lambs are slaughtered by the men of power,
        And death squads spread their curse across the world.

        But every Herod dies, and comes alone
        To stand before the Lamb upon the throne.”

        (Malcolm Guite)

  3. Our hearts should always go out to the refugees from any age and country. I think about those in Chad, Somalia, Bangladesh, India and others. The issue on our border is more complex. Some wonder on the commitment of some who are demanding $50,000 per person and they will go home. My the Lord bless everyone and shed his light in the darkness.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Those “some who are demanding $50,000 per person and they will go home” are apparently a minority who tagged along with the refugee crowd; there’s always a criminal element tagging along in any such mass movement. Or they found they couldn’t get in and threw in on the extortion attempt.

      Either way, you KNOW this is going to go viral among Anglos who already have an axe to grind on the subject. And with the Second Coming of Christ in Trump Tower DC. And Evangelical Christians who have taken The Mark.

      • “And with the Second Coming of Christ in Trump Tower DC. And Evangelical Christians who have taken The Mark.”

        wow, Headless!
        do you reference the ‘prophet’ Mark Taylor of Liberty University film fame ?
        or are you more in sync with Wm. Butler Yeats poem, ‘The Second Coming’ ?

        “Turning and turning in the widening gyre
        The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
        Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
        Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
        The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
        The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
        The best lack all conviction, while the worst
        Are full of passionate intensity.

        Surely some revelation is at hand;
        Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
        The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
        When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
        Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
        A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
        A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
        Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
        Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
        The darkness drops again; but now I know
        That twenty centuries of stony sleep
        Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
        And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
        Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”
        (W. B. Yeats)

  4. Susan Dumbrell says

    now, was yesterday
    now, was time for compassion
    watch now, the Star shines