Consider this …
Can you believe it – another year has passed, and we find ourselves on the threshold of Christmas once again. The days and seasons seem to pass without deliberation. Just like my grandmother told me they would. (She warned against “wishing my life away” by wanting time to pass quickly. “The older you get son, the faster time will go by. Cherish the moments you have …”). Sound advice which I take to heart now that I am older and time is flying by.
I know I have said this to you all before, Christmas is my favorite season of the year. Actually, from Thanksgiving to Epiphany is a time for celebration, remembrance, worship and storytelling. It is the time I most look forward to as it relates to other human beings, because it seems that all of the stuff that causes us to look askance upon the other is set aside for a while. The air seems filled with different smells and a feeling of love and acceptance, even among non-believers. I look forward to the holiday season because people seem to smile more; they seem to walk with their heads held up, looking ahead with the express purpose of greeting their neighbor on the street.
But this year seems different, and not in a good way. The air seems filled with animosity … people seem less tolerant of their neighbor. I don’t see as many people smiling or walking with their heads up. There seems to be a sense of suspicion and wariness among us … People of color whom I pass in the stores and on the street are less likely to engage in conversation or acknowledge my greeting (this is strange for a season based on the total acceptance and love of God born and shared in the birth of the Christ-child).
If you’re like me, you are sick and tired of hearing the babble of the pundits and the proclamations of the political campaigns as each tries to put their particular spin on what and why things happened the way they happened; and what the future portends in the wake of this horribly childish and acrimonious bid for the most visible, and some say most important office in the world. If we, as a people, were not divided before (and only those who refused to see reality would suggest otherwise), we most certainly are now. And this is what concerns me so.
As people of faith, what I want us to focus our attention on this season of Advent and Christmas is the message that God is sending us yet again as we celebrate the birth of Emmanuel. That message, that gift is found in the life, death and resurrection of the child born in Bethlehem and chosen by us to be born in our lives day by day, the message that all people are created in the image of God and that because of Bethlehem and Golgotha salvation has come to all. For we who claim the Christ, the greatest gift we can give our community, our neighbors, and our world is to live remembering that Jesus called out the world that sought to divide peoples. He proclaimed that no one is to be treated with less dignity than we would want ourselves and our loved ones to be treated. As we show our love for God and our response to God’s love for us in the Babe of Bethlehem, may we take every opportunity to speak words of life and love concerning all people. And may our Christmas be filled with the very same love for each other that God showed in coming among us as a baby born to die so that we all might live.Blessed Advent and Merry Christmas,