How about a Christmas truce?

What did 2008 mean for conservatives, and what will 2009 demand of us? Those are the questions our show has been exploring throughout November and December. This Sunday I'll discuss them with Claremont political scientist Charles Kesler... economist Larry Reed... civil rights leader Ward Connerly... former state Sen. Mark Hillman... and Federalist Society attorney Allyson Ho. The show is a "Best of Backbone" broadcast, recorded earlier to allow the Andrews clan some additional time together as Christmas approaches. I hope you'll be able to listen.

Speaking of Christmas, three things... we wish you a very merry one... we note my special column for the holidays, Why Christmas Matters (see item above this one on home page)...

and we conclude with a couple of favorite poems from the great G. K. Chesterton.

"The Truce of Christmas" was occasioned by a spontaneous ceasefire in the WWI trenches on Dec. 25, 1914, but I like its deeper message about the world's ingratitude to Jesus and his followers. Solution: keep faith with love and truth regardless.

"The Wise Men" warns of the barriers our own cleverness and self-sufficiency may put in the way of following the star and finding the manger. That's why the child's heart at this season will often see what the adult's brain tends to miss, as I said in my column.

Warmest wishes of the season to you and yours from all of us at Backbone Radio, John... Matt... Kathleen... Krista... Joshua... Karen... Matt again... and Joan



The Truce of Christmas By G.K. Chesterton

Passionate peace is in the sky — And in the snow in silver sealed The beasts are perfect in the field, And men seem men so suddenly — (But take ten swords and ten times ten And blow the bugle in praising men; For we are for all men under the sun; And they are against us every one; And misers haggle and madmen clutch, And there is peril in praising much, And we have the terrible tongues uncurled That praise the world to the sons of the world.)

The idle humble hill and wood Are bowed upon the sacred birth, And for one little hour the earth Is lazy with the love of good— (But ready are you, and ready am I, If the battle blow and the guns go by; For we are for all men under the sun, And they are against us every one; And the men that hate herd all together, To pride and gold, and the great white feather, And the thing is graven in star and stone That the men who love are all alone.)

Hunger is hard and time is tough, But bless the beggars and kiss the kings; For hope has broken the heart of things, And nothing was ever praised enough. (But hold the shield for a sudden swing And point the sword when you praise a thing, For we are for all men under the sun, And they are against us every one; And mime and merchant, thane and thrall Hate us because we love them all; Only till Christmastide go by Passionate peace is in the sky.)


The Wise Men By G. K. Chesterton

Step softly, under snow or rain, To find the place where men can pray; The way is all so very plain That we may lose the way.

Oh, we have learnt to peer and pore On tortured puzzles from our youth, We know all the labyrinthine lore, We are the three wise men of yore, And we know all things but truth.

We have gone round and round the hill And lost the wood among the trees, And learnt long names for every ill, And serve the made gods, naming still The furies the Eumenides.

The gods of violence took the veil Of vision and philosophy, The Serpent that brought all men bale, He bites his own accursed tail, And calls himself Eternity.

Go humbly ... it has hailed and snowed... With voices low and lanterns lit; So very simple is the road, That we may stray from it.

The world grows terrible and white, And blinding white the breaking day; We walk bewildered in the light, For something is too large for sight, And something much too plain to say.

The Child that was ere worlds begun (... We need but walk a little way, We need but see a latch undone...) The Child that played with moon and sun Is playing with a little hay.

The house from which the heavens are fed, The old strange house that is our own, Where trick of words are never said, And Mercy is as plain as bread, And Honour is as hard as stone.

Go humbly, humble are the skies, And low and large and fierce the Star; So very near the Manger lies That we may travel far.

Hark! Laughter like a lion wakes To roar to the resounding plain. And the whole heaven shouts and shakes, For God Himself is born again, And we are little children walking Through the snow and rain.

===================================== Other wonderful Christmas poems by Chesterton, easily found with a Google search, include...

A Child of the Snows The House of Christmas The Nativity A Song of Gifts to God Christmas Song for Three Guilds A Word