Slouching Toward Bethlehem

Photo by Ellen Taylor

Advent, the 25 days leading up to Christmas, is  a passage traditionally associated with

wreaths, greetings and joy, a succession of purple and pink candles and mounting excitement. This year however it  is a dark and dreadful path, followed with heavy tread and mounting dread. The  Christmas  stories  told in churches, in carols, in the art and which permeate our  traditions and  culture, have been infernally transformed into  a hideous reality  torn limb from limb on the wheel of the daily news. It is king Herod returned to earth  to fill the graves of  the holy land with children.  Marys and Josephs are carried out of bombed hospitals with newborn infants, whose lives lasted  milliseconds, cradled in their dead arms. Soldiers, like reembodied  Roman centurions,  pillage Christian churches In the city of the Nativity.

The towering wrath of Netanyahu  reverberates with the  sixteenth century  Coventry carol,

the lullaby of  mothers to their doomed infants:

“Herod the King, in his raging, charged he hath this day, His  Men of Might, In His Own Sight

All Children Young to Slay”…

Israel aspires to erase  all traces of its sibling faiths. Christian churches on the Mount of Olives, where Mary is said to have been buried, are being confiscated, in the name of creating a green  National Park. Muslim cemeteries  have been bulldozed, some containing the  bones of Muhammad’s comrades, and, later, the  Saracens of Saladin’s armies.  Mamilla Cemetery  has  been  mostly swept away, and replaced by  Independence Park , in a celebration of  Israel’s creation.

The world appears  helpless. As Yeats wrote, “ the  best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with a passionate intensity”.

Christ was a Palestinian and a Jew, and  Palestine is the Holy Land.  Here the Old Testament prophets admonished their human flocks, and  Jesus was born, bringing his message of love. It was from here that Mohammad  embarked on his miraculous  Night journey to Heaven. The occurrence of the Nakhba should have  instantly tipped off the  imperialist world builders that

their creation of a Jewish  state in Palestine was not going to work.

 Israel has lost the right to be  custodian of the holy land. It is a failed state. It needs to  go back, and solve the  problem where it began. European Jews must rediscover their  deep European roots, torn out only two generations ago. They should be  given Upper Bavaria, where ideas of holocaust  were once conceived. Or they could have Swabia, accompanied by a graceful exodus of  Germans who  in turn could be satisfactorily  re-housed by hospitality engineers. Europe  has shown expertise in  absorbing newcomers. The relocation of Israel is just another of  the challenging problems of  rejected Empire.

Or, a nation state of Israel, currently confined to a mere 8,00 square miles, could be allowed  a generous  portion of the state of Nevada’s 110,000+ square miles.

This Advent, this season of Festivals of Light, celebrating the sun’s return, is a reenactment of the  foundational metaphoric tales of our cultures,  only in a macabre, mocking travesty. As MLK  did, and would again put it, it is the liturgy of a final approach to spiritual death.

Ellen Taylor can be reached at