An Anti-Nativity Scene in the Bleak Midwinter

Deal W. Hudson
December 24, 2009

A poem by Christina Rosetti, published posthumously in 1904, became a favorite Christmas carol after Gustav Holst set it to music for the English Hymnal two years later. The poem underscores the harsh setting of the nativity – the first stanza reads:

In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Long ago.

I thought of these words today as Washington, D.C., still sits under more than a foot of “snow on snow,” the ground underneath frozen “hard as iron.” In Rossetti’s poem, the wintry setting contrasts with the warm adoration of the child by the angels, the cherubim, seraphim, ox, ass, camel, mother, shepherds, and the wise men:

What can I give him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him –
Give my heart.

This morning, before the sun has risen, the wise men and women of the Senate will have made their way over the still-icy sidewalks and stairways of the Capitol to vote on Christmas Eve day at 7:00 a.m.

Children also figure into the senators’ narrative on the day before Christ’s birth. These are the children who will never be born, because 60 U.S. senators, many of them Catholic, will vote to provide funding for abortion in the name of “preventive care.”

As a 2007 Guttmacher report on Medicaid abortion funding shows, “Studies published over the course of two decades, looking at a number of states, concluded that 18-35 percent of women who would have had an abortion continued their pregnancies after Medicaid funding was cut off.” The Guttmacher researcher calls this “the most tragic result of the funding restrictions,” an opinion obviously shared by the majority of the Senate in the 111th Congress.

They don’t seem to grasp the tragedy they will have enacted. How many more children will die each year? One hundred thousand? Two hundred thousand? Probably more – many more.

Nothing that happens in the grandeur of the Senate chamber on Christmas Eve could be further from the scene conjured by Rossetti’s image of angels who “fall down” and “throng the air,” while

His mother only,
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

Or the wise man who hesitates before naming what it is he has to give – not his intelligence, but his heart.

Those who gathered in the cold night air around the manager brought the warmth of their devotion and the light of their happiness to welcome the child. The vote this morning will send a chill across America, with people asking themselves, “What have we become? Where did we lose our way?”

The voices of these people have yet to be heard. How could they respond to the 2,000-plus pages of a bill conceived in secret, published only days before Sen. Harry Reid demanded a vote?

But the winter is far from over, and the bill still has to pass muster with some men and women in the House who understand why the wise man chose to give his heart to the Child in the manger.

By Deal Hudson

Deal W. Hudson was born November 20, 1949 in Denver, CO, to Emmie and Jack Hudson, both native Texans. Dr. Hudson had an older sister Ruth, and eventually, a younger sister, Elizabeth. Emmie Hudson, Ruth Hudson and Elizabeth Hudson now live in Houston, TX; Jack Hudson passed away some years ago. The late Jack Hudson was a captain for Braniff Airlines in Denver at the time of Dr. Hudson’s birth. Later the family moved to Kansas City when his father joined the Federal Aviation Agency. From Kansas City, the Hudson family moved to Minneapolis, then to Massapequa, NY, and finally to Alexandria, VA, where they first occupied a home overlooking the Potomac River adjacent to the Mount Vernon estate. After a year, the family moved to a home on Tarpon Lane a few houses up the street from the Yacht Haven boat docks. Dr. Hudson attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School from grades 4 to 6 and has a special gratitude for the teaching of Mr. Hoppe who first told him was a ‘smart lad.’ Having moved with his family to Fort Worth, TX in 1960, Dr. Hudson attended William Monnig Junior High and Arlington Heights HS. In high school, Dr. Hudson was captain of the golf team, editor of the literary magazine (Guerdon), and performed the role of Peter in the ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ during his senior year. Dr. Hudson graduated cum laude with a major in philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin in 1971 where his undergraduate advisor was Prof. John Silber. His teachers at the University of Texas included Prof. Louis Mackey and Prof. Larry Caroline. Dr. Hudson minored in both classics and English literature. Dr. Hudson lived in Atlanta from 1974-1989, where he attended Emory University, receiving a Phd from the Graduate Institute for the LIberal Arts. He also taught philosophy at Mercer University in Atlanta from 1980-89. In 1989 Dr. Hudson and his family left Atlanta when he was hired to teach philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx. Dr. Hudson taught at Fordham, and also part-time at New York University, from 1989 to 1994. Dr. Hudson first came to Atlanta in after graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) with an M.Div. While at PTS, Dr. Hudson managed the Baptist Student Union at Princeton University and became its first director. Dr. Hudson also was licensed at a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, NJ. Dr. Hudson’s primary area of study at PTS was the history of Christian doctrine which he pursued with Dr. Karlfried Froelich. In 1984 Dr. Hudson was received in the Catholic Church by Msgr. Richard Lopez, with the special permission of Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan, at the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta. Dr. Hudson has been married twenty-five years to Theresa Carver Hudson and they have two children, Hannah Clare, 23, and Cyprian Joseph (Chip), 15, adopted from Romania when he was three years old. The Hudson family has lived in Fairfax, VA for more than fifteen years, after having lived five years in Bronxville, NY and a year in Atlanta, GA, where Theresa and Deal were married.

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