This Christmas men are looking to the Holy Land, and they are listening — not for the strains of “Glory to God in the Highest,” but for the sounds of war upon earth. And we might say: It is just. God long ago crashed the Temple of Jerusalem to the ground, and cursed its people, the Jews, to be forever homeless and wandering. If the world has defied this Divine judgment and supported a Jewish return to Palestine, then let the world bear the consequences of God’s righteous anger.
But this leaves a greater part unsaid. For the Holy Land is infinitely more than a geographical locality which God has forbidden to the Jews. It is, for all time, the precious countryside where God became the Child of a Virginal Mother, and where God as Man walked and taught and died for us. It is, indeed, God’s Land.
If, therefore, we are anxious this Christmas, our concern is this: The leaders of our nation have proposed that Christian boys be ready to shed their blood in order to make the Jews secure within the borders of the Holy Land. But should this happen, should Christian lives be spent to keep God’s Land in the hands of His crucifiers, the price of such betrayal will not be confined to the deserts of the East. We will be paying, in kind, on bloody Main Street, U. S. A.
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Soon, the Jews of America will be trying once more to jostle Christmas from its place as the nation’s chief interest in late December. As elbow for this endeavor, the Jews will rely again on their festival of Chanukah — once a minor holiday but recently seized on because of its timely Yuletide occurrence and now celebrated with all the blare and bluster the Jews can produce.
Though originally set up in 165 B. C., the observance of Chanukah (Hebrew for “Dedication”) has long since lost its holy, Old Testament meaning. Thus, when Jewish leaders decided a few years back to revive and exalt the holiday, they found it expedient also to invest it with a fresh and acceptable significance. They have, accordingly, made it an annual practice to hire the principal halls in the principal cities of the country for the staging of special Chanukah pageants. These loudly-trumpeted extravaganzas (“Inspiring — Breathtaking — Spectacular”) oppose the Birth of the true Messias by dramatizing, with the solemnity of religious ritual, the birth of their own messianic empire: the Jewish state of Israel.
It is, of course, true that the Jews would have been eager to exploit any one of their festivals that was opportune in order to affront the beauty and singularity of Christmas. Yet Chanukah is especially suited for such a use — because it was on that day that Our Lord revealed Himself to the Jews as the Messias, and, for doing so, was almost stoned. The story is told in the Holy Gospel of Saint John (Chap. 10, v. 22-39):
“And the Dedication was in Jerusalem: and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Salomon’s porch. The Jews therefore compassed him round about, and said to him, How long doest thou hold our soul in suspense? If thou be Christ, tell us openly. Jesus answered them, I speak to you: and you believe not, the works that I do in the name of my Father, they give testimony of me, but you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep. My sheep hear my voice: and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them life everlasting: and they shall not perish for ever, and no man shall pluck them out of my hand. My father, that which he hath given me, is greater than all: and no man can pluck them out of the hand of my father. I and the Father are one. The Jews took up stones, to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works I have showed you from my father, for which of those works do you stone me? The Jews answered him, For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy, and because thou being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, that I said, you are God’s? If he called them God’s, to whom the word of God was made, and the scripture can not be broken: whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, say you, That thou blasphemest, because I said I am the son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, and if you will not believe me, believe the works: that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in the Father. They sought therefore to apprehend him: and he went forth out of their hands.”
Because it is reckoned by the Jewish calendar, the day on which Chanukah falls may vary from year to year by as much as a month. This year it is due to fall on its earliest possible date. But Jews have never been ones to let liturgical niceties stand in the way of more vital considerations, and so, the Jews of Boston (the only segment of whose plans we have heard) are making an adroit adjustment in their schedule. Their annual Chanukah pageant at the Boston Garden will be held this year, not when the calendar says Chanukah should occur, but some three weeks later, on December the twenty-third — just a stone’s throw from Christmas.
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The pride of Jewish rural life is the “kibbutz,” a sort of collective farm settlement, of which there are presently some 250 well-populated examples in the state of Israel. A recent volume to swell the praises of these communes is Harvard University Press’ Kibbutz, Venture in Utopia. The following two extracts from this book provide a raw, startling picture of the Jews who today inhabit the Land of Christ’s Birth:
“In its attempt to create a better world, the kibbutz has found that it faces considerable opposition, and it has come to view this opposition with an intense hatred. Indeed, it is not unfair to say the kibbutz hates almost everybody, since it views almost everybody as an opponent. Outside of Israel, all the ‘bourgeois’ countries are hated, and only the Soviet Union and ‘People’s Democracies’ are ‘loved.’
“As for marriage, they believed — and still believe — that a union between a man and woman was their own affair, to be entered into on the basis of love and to be broken at the termination of love; neither the union nor the separation were to require the permission or the sanction of the community. Today, for example, if a couple wishes to marry, the partners merely ask for a joint room; if they wish a divorce, they return to separate rooms.”
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Each year when the Church commemorates the arrival of the Magi at Bethlehem, on the Feast of the Epiphany, our priests are required to read, as an integral part of their Breviary prayers, the following homily by Pope Saint Gregory the Great:
“All things which He had made, bore witness that their Maker was come … And yet, up to this very hour, the hearts of the unbelieving Jews will not acknowledge that He, to Whom all nature gave testimony, is their God. Being more hardened than the rocks, the Jews refuse to be rent by repentance.”
This is but one instance of what the Jews would term the “anti-Semitism” of the Church’s Advent and Christmas Season liturgy. With the possible exception of Holy Week in Lent, there is no period in the whole liturgical year which more emphasizes the bridgeless chasm separating Christian faith and Jewish infidelity.
From Advent through the Epiphany Octave, the texts of the Mass and the Divine Office resound repeatedly with that theme which is at once the fulfilled expectation of the Jews of the Old Law, and the indictment of the deicide Jews of today:
“Behold, O Israel, your king … Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, for the day of the Lord is nigh … It is the birth of the Christ, O Jerusalem … The Savior of the world will be our King … He shall sit upon the throne of David His father.”
These are the tidings of great joy which plague the Jews as sorely this December as they did more than nineteen hundred years ago. And among these tidings there is, for the Jews, no more hateful information than the exultant shouts that the Baby of Bethlehem is the true Son of David, inheriting a royal title from His foster father, Saint Joseph, and royal blood from His Spotless Mother, the Virgin Mary. It was precisely to attack this central truth of Christmas that the rabbis of the early Christian centuries concocted that unprintably-filthy version of the Birth of Christ which is now found in the Jews’ “holy” book, the Talmud. We have determined never to reprint, in direct quotation, these blasphemous assaults against the purity of the Mother of God. But that they were invented by the rabbis, for the express purpose of challenging Our Lord’s title to the Throne of David, is abundantly admitted by Jewish authorities. The Jewish Encyclopedia, for example, blithely states, in its article on “Jesus,” that, “For polemical purposes it was necessary for the Jews to insist on the illegitimacy of Jesus as against the Davidic descent claimed by the Christian Church.”
At no point in the Christmas liturgy, however, does the Church’s consciousness of Jewish perfidy becloud her joy at the Birth of the Messias. In this spirit, therefore, we anticipate the coming gladness, and leave our readers with that jubilant exhortation from the Third Mass of Christmas:
“Come ye Gentiles and adore the Lord, for this day a great light hath descended upon the earth!”