Consider world full of Herods

first_imgI was reminded of a point C.S. Lewis made in an introduction to “The Screwtape Letters,” a fictional series of exchanges between two demons plotting the damnation of an anonymous believer: “Some have paid me an undeserved compliment by supposing that my Letters were the ripe fruit of many years’ study in moral and ascetic theology,” Lewis wrote. “They forgot that there is an equally reliable, though less creditable, way of learning how temptation works. `My heart’ – I need no other’s – `showeth me the wickedness of the ungodly.”‘ There is a little bit – thank God, generally only a tiny bit – of Herod in all of us. Oh, no, we don’t poison those whom we find professionally threatening, but we do nurse grudges for years. We don’t actually cheat on our spouses, but we do fantasize, in drool-inducing detail, about evenings in the No-Tell Motel with that hottie down the hall. We’ve heard a great deal recently about the words used to describe this time of year and about why Christmas is celebrated. And behind much of the holiday – certainly not all of it, given the presence of Rudolph, Frosty and Ralphie Parker and his coveted Red Ryder BB gun – is the figure whom a heavenly messenger described as “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” But behind that lies another factor: human beings marred by the Fall, captives bound and double-ironed, a host of souls dead in their moral trespasses and desperately in need of Immanuel – God with us. A world full of Herods, great and small – that’s the reason for the season that we don’t hear much about. Alan Cochrum is a copy editor and writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Write him by e-mail at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: John Jackson greets a Christmas that he wasn’t sure he’d seeFor Herod, this was all in a night’s work. According to history, his reign saw the killings of three of his sons, one of his (many) wives and her mother, brother and grandfather. Augustus Caesar reportedly said it was better to be one of Herod’s animals than his son. This put the reaction to my performance in “Wee Three Kings” in an interesting light. Again and again, people came up to me and said I had portrayed the old killer so well! Hmmm. Thanks. I think. (My own observation was that, given that I was Herod and our preacher was the angel of the Lord, it was obvious that typecasting either was or was not employed, depending on your personal viewpoint.) So how to explain my bravura acting job, aside from the presence of a large slice of spiced ham on my mental plate? GIVEN the reaction to the Christmas pageant, I obviously missed my calling. I should have been either a professional actor or a bloody-minded Middle Eastern monarch. As staged by my church, the pageant included the usual shepherds and Magi (one of whom observed that Herod’s “royal buffet” left much to be desired), courtiers and jesters, a Joseph considerably shorter and younger than Mary, a donkey who tossed his cookies in the family car hours before the first performance, and an angel who discovered the difficulty of ascending a narrow stairway while bent over and wearing large, feathery wings. I had the honor of playing Herod, who according to Matthew, learned that his visitors from the East were seeking one “who has been born king of the Jews” and told them: “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him” (Revised Standard Version). Of course, the scheming tyrant had other ideas. When the Magi failed to return, he sent out forces who “killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men.” last_img

15 Canadians on cruise ship that was stranded off Norway one injured

first_imgSTAVANGER, Norway — Norwegian officials are investigating why a cruise ship carrying more than 1,300 people, including 15 Canadians, set sail despite storm warnings and forced a major evacuation after a mayday call had been issued.Global Affairs Canada says the Canadians were on board the Viking Sky cruise ship when it ran into engine trouble off Norway’s rough, frigid western coast.In an email statement, department spokesman Stefano Maron says one of the 15 was injured, and consular officials are in contact with those involved.Maron says no further information could be disclosed, citing the Privacy Act.The cruise ship was carrying 1,373 passengers and crew when it issued a mayday call Saturday afternoon.Rescuers worked all night and into Sunday to airlift half of its passengers — 479 people — to shore by helicopter before the ship was able to slowly make its way to shore on Sunday.The Viking Ocean Cruises company says all the passengers and crew are safe, the ship has docked in the western Norwegian port of Molde and passengers planned to fly home as soon as possible.— With files from The Associated PressThe Associated PressNote to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version spelled Maron incorrectly in para 3last_img read more