Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Presence . . .

My good old Baylor friend and fellow NoZe Brother Tim Anderson, now living in Spain, sent me a Christmas card of the Three Kings of Orient, who are already on their way to see the Christ child bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh -- gift-wrapped, no less! -- but who always arrive a couple of years late with news that precipitates a bit of political instability and occasions a rather unsettling event, which you can read about in Matthew 2:1-18, but let's not go there today and thereby disturb the holiday spirit. Instead, enjoy the card, which depicts these Oriental kings as speaking Spanish, English, and French. Odd . . . though if one looks far enough eastward, the West appears. Anyway, Tim writes:
I hope all is going well with you all and the latest developments up North will have a positive effect. Here is our Christmas card, a rendition of the 3 Kings by Jan (4 yrs).

Very lovely card! Thanks, Tim. Give my regards to the young artist, who has made East meet West.

I've been very busy this holiday season, but some of my editing work for journals is being appreciated, for I received an email yesterday evening with these words:
Every author thanks you for your proofreading . . . . [and] the author of . . . [one of the papers] said, "Your lovely English Studies prof had several very good suggestions to make, and the paper is considerably improved because of these. Please thank him for his work."
Nice praise, especially the part about being "lovely" . . . but I guess that this writer has never seen a photo of me.

Similar thanks arrived from one of my students. There had been some plagiarism by too many students on the first draft of a paper, but in the spirit of Christmas, I decided to toss out that first grade (many D-minuses) and allow all students in the class a second chance by having only their second draft count, which the class received as good tidings of great joy, a joy enhanced at seeing their final grades -- at least for this student:
I checked my grade this afternoon, and I was surprised at the result . . . . I don't know how to thank you for the final grade. I really couldn't expect that high grade. I got D- for the first draft because of my fault, and I was totally confused during the end of the semester. I'm really happy that you forgave my fault, and I could correct my essay the right way.

I'm not a Christian, but I really thank God that I could attend your class. Your class was the toughest class for my entire undergraduate course, but, it was also the most meaningful class that I learned the real joy of studying novel.

I already told in my course evaluation, but I want to tell you again. I really thank you for all your kind and patient help for my essay. I will keep the lesson that I learned in mind.

Hope you have a merry Christmas and a happy new year!!

Goodness! Who knew that a final grade could occasion a religious experience? Well, Christmas is nigh upon us, so miracles do happen . . .

[UPDATE: From Tim Anderson, a report as of December 21, 2011: "Jan was tickled pink to see his drawing on the internet!!!"]

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At 7:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The three "Kings" are actually "Magi," who were likely from the Medio-Persian area. They knew of the promise of a king to be born in Judea.

Possibly there was a large group in a caravan with an armed guard.

The reason that it is thought there were only three is the three gifts they brought.

There are a number of ideas about the star. Two possibilities are
(1) the Shekineh glory or (2) an angelic being.
Whatever it was, it guided the men to Jerusalem, then reappeared as they went on to Bethlehem.

According to Josephus, King Herod was an able but cruel king. He murdered his uncle, his wife, his own children, and anyone else he considered a threat. It wasn't unusual for him to murder the boys 2 years and under in the region around Bethlehem.
When he knew death was approaching, he had many of the leaders of the Jews locked up in a prison, with orders for them to be killed upon his death. He said he wanted to make sure that there was mourning in the city when he died.

It is no wonder that then the Magi appeared, King Herod was troubled, and all Jerusalem also.


At 7:42 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

But Uncle Cran, I thought that we wouldn't "go there today and thereby disturb the holiday spirit"!

Nevertheless, I hope that you're having a good Christmas season despite this unsettling report on the wise men.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:21 PM, Blogger ilTassista Marino said...

by the Way (and Truth and Life):


At 2:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I assumed that the two of you wouldn't go there, but leaving the rest of us to do as we please.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


At 5:26 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Dario. Merry Christmas to you, too.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:28 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

The trip is so long, Uncle Cran, that I didn't expect anyone to go there, but I'm glad that you've made it back for Christmas.

Jeffery Hodges

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