Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee, saying, Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.
And the voice from Galilee, which would defy Caesar, offered a new kingdom in which each man could walk upright and bow to none but his God . . . so the light came into the world and the men who lived in darkness were afraid, and they tried to lower a curtain so that man would still believe that salvation lay with the leaders.
- Vermont Royster
I can call up moment after moment of precise memory from the Christmases of my childhood, like frozen frames of recollection: A sparrow, its feathers so fluffed for warmth it looked like a fat monk in a robe and tonsure, peering out from the ice-wrapped lilac hedge while I sat at the living room window, waiting for my parents to wake. The sideways tilt of my father's head as he looked down in concentration, cutting out the sections of a grapefruit for Christmas breakfast. The heft of the new Swiss Army knife from my uncle, smuggled in the pocket of my dress pants to church. The steam rising while we washed the endless piles of dishes after Christmas dinner, until the fog condensed in rivulets that raced each other down the kitchen windowpanes to pool on the painted sill.
- Joseph Bottum