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BBC Radio 4:Bishop Richard Harries - 18/12/15

You are listening to a programmes from BBC Radio 4. Good morning. For some people this can be a very difficult time. As Giles Fraser said yesterday, for them it will be a blue Christmas. Yet there is also something in the air at Christmas that can occasionally catch us by surprise. A crowded West End of London is not my favourite place, but having to be there the other day when it was full of Christmas shoppers even I was suddenly touched by the attractive decorations lighting up the streets. And certainly my local High Street delights the eye with its lights. The sight of someone’s Christmas tree through the window, a carol in the air and above all, for those fortunate enough to have children around them, the innocent excitement of a young face, and something stirs in the heart. A hint perhaps of a beauty at the very heart of things. From the time of Plato beauty has been seen as a way into the Divine. Certainly in the Christian tradition, with the exception of certain forms of Protestantism, beauty has been central to Christian thought in both West and East. St Augustine of Hippo for example, was not shy to address God as “O Thou beauty, most ancient and withal so fresh.” Of course a love of beauty can degenerate into mere aestheticism and it is hardly a word that is fashionable today in either artistic or philosophical circles. But as one of the greatest of theologians, Hans Urs von Balthasar put it about beauty We can be sure that whoever sneers at her name - whether he admits it or not - can no longer pray and soon will no longer be able to love. That’s a pretty strong statement - but something of its truth is revealed in Evelyn Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited, which was made into one of the greatest ever TV series a few years ago. In it there is a central tension between the jaded somewhat cynical Charles Ryder, and the rather fey innocent Sebastian. At one point Charles tells Sebastian he can’t possible believe all the Christmas stories about the three kings, the ox and the ass and so on “Oh yes I believe that. It’s a lovely idea” Sebastian replies. “But you can’ believe things because they are a lovely idea” says Charles. “But I do. That’s how I believe.” Responds Sebastian. Well, living at the time we do, a large part of us agrees with Charles. We can’t believe things just because they are a lovely idea. But a lovely idea or sight, or sound, a spasm of delight at Christmas, can lift the heart and even suggest the possibility of beauty being at the very heart of reality. 来自:VOA英语网 文章地址: http://www.tingvoa.com/html/20151219/BBC-Radio-4-Bishop-Richard-Harries-18-12-15.html