Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas 2009

What is the oldest Christmas Carol? Silent Night, 1792; Adeste Fidelis, 1711; Of the Father’s Love Begotten, 348 A.D.? No, the oldest was written by a pregnant teen-age girl 2000 years ago. Her song is the Magnificat. The song is made most famous by Bach’s Magnificat, of which the first line is “My soul doth magnify the Lord.” (We heard it sung wonderfully by the SF Choral Society this December.) She begins by praising God and giving thanks that she has been the chosen one.

Then she says:

God has scattered the proud with their inmost thoughts;

He has brought down rulers from their thrones.

He has sent the rich away empty.

Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole or Irving Berlin never put those lines in their Christmas songs thousands of years later. These words, said by a powerless, penniless, illiterate Jewish peasant girl, are found in Luke’s gospel.

She amplifies her sentiments:

He hath put down the mighty from their seat,

And hath exalted the humble and meek.

He hath filled the hungry with good things,

And the rich he hath sent empty away.

Years later, the girl’s son, an itinerant Rabbi, came along and said:

Blessed are the poor, blessed are the hungry, blessed are the meek.

The government of Guatemala banned this song in the 1980s as subversive.

This Christmas we celebrate the birth of that Rabbi, son of the singer of the Magnificat. We still hear powerful men and women urging more war, opposing health care for all and unwilling to alter a culture that keeps people hungry and homeless.

We again can hear the message of the Rabbi’s Gospel, Peace on earth, good will to all. Ann and Robert add to that freedom, mercy and justice for all human beings.

Advent and Christmas 2009

Dear Friends,

We have had a healthy year. Good food, exercise, cheerful but realistic views and warm intimacy make us very happy.

Travels to Savannah, Charleston, Washington, DC, New York City, Tuxedo Park, Litchfield, CT, Hamden, CT, and Andover, MA and Boston in May took us to friends or family in each of those locations. We spent two weeks in July at Brighton, Utah, in a large cabin where we are partners with Ann’s brothers and sister.

Ann is gong to Vietnam for three weeks in January. I am going to a writers’ conference at Esalen, Big Sur, for a week while she is away.

Ann loves tutoring at Mission High School near our home. She takes lots of enjoyable classes at The Fromm Institute for Life-long Learning, and she’s studying Spanish. She also enjoys going to the opera and the symphony and to exhibits at museums in San Francisco.

Robert writes each day and puts much of it in his blog, He occasionally gets letters or articles published and has an extensive email correspondence. He continues to stand vigil, with others, every Thursday against the present wars and has written letters and articles emphatically supporting health care reform.

We wish you a blessed Christmas and a joyous new year.

Ann and Robert


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