BY STEVE DUNN
It is the day before Christmas–the morning to be exact. I have traveled the 400 or so miles to my daughter’s house where we will be Christmas morning. I have finished my shopping and just a few minutes ago, my wrapping. That Christmas haircut was accomplished yesterday. The pre-Christmas bills are all paid and even some that would normally appear after Christmas. We opened some presents last night with my daughter Katie and her family, so they can travel today to join her in-laws for Christmas Eve. Unless I want to work on a lecture for one of my seminary classes, I have nothing to do until the Christmas Eve Service we will be attending tonight. I don’t need to worry about the cookies and milk for Santa. My grandson Jake has that one covered.
This is not my car, but if it was I might be cruising around in it
It is really a good time for reflection–so here goes.
Christmas comes around every year whether we are ready for it or not. Those of us of the Christian faith try to prepare for it with a season called Advent–where we reflect on the hope, love, peace, and joy that Christ’s first arrival was meant to represent. Many of us–Christian and otherwise, look for neighbors -both known and strangers-to share gifts and necessities to brighten what is sometimes for them a grim existence. The media is filled with reminders of how many shopping days are left and what bargains can still be obtained. Packages are mailed and travel plans made. Work days are shortened by on-line shopping and holiday parties. Grief groups ramp up for heavy traffic, as do airlines as well. Christmas is quite complicated and often chaotic. I wonder what Mary and Joseph camping out in a Bethlehem stable would make of what their tax-collected journey would induce.
Christmas 2015 is certainly not peaceful. Oh yes, we have the Star Wars release to distract us and lower gas prices are a pleasant surprise. We are in the pre-primary season and we have Donald Trump blasting profanity and half-truths in the name of politics nightly and the Democrats once again championing political correctness so that manger scenes still come under fire. ISIS has left a layer of terroristic fear that makes shopping and church-going an act of courage. In my own state schools may have to close in the new year because politicians playing hardball refuse to pass a state budget.
Recent violence in Paris and San Bernadino have Americans playing the dangerous game of considering a religion test for immigration, including those seeking asylum because of the evil being done by others in the name of their religion.
As Christmas 2015 nears its dawn, I take hope in the words of the prophet Isaiah: “The children walking in darkness have seen a great light.” And that is my prayer this Christmas Eve morning–that people everywhere will see that light who is called “Emmanuel” (God with us) and trust in Jesus (He shall save His people). For we ARE his people.
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