Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Christmas for Dummies: God sent His only son to be born in the most humble and lowly of ways as far from kinglike as possible. He had Jesus grow up in the home of a tradesman, a carpenter, who taught his son the trade. When Jesus was in his thirties (pretty old for that time), he preached for three years: preaching peace, love, forgiveness--a better to way to live in a world that was rotten. For this, He was crucified as a common criminal and regardless of your interpretation of what happened three days later, the world turned to Him and his message. Over 2,000 years later, Christianity is the largest religion on Earth, twice as big as the nearest, Islam. What did he bring to make this happen? In a word, hope. No matter how bad things were here on Earth, there was something better waiting for those who strove to make this world a better place for others, and if we truly loved unconditionally, we would know how heaven would feel right here. Of all the world's great religions, only Christianity is "other" centered. From the Ten Commandments, several of which were about how we treat each other, to the Golden Rule, to what Christ called His commandment that we love each other as He had loved us--the story is the same. Helen Steiner Rice may have said it best, "Bless us Lord, this Christmas, with quietness of mind; Teach us to be patient and always to be kind." Ah, if only we could, but we can try every day--then every day is Christmas. Even the atheist, Martin Willett writes: "Christmas is mostly a time of hope for peace, harmony and friendship. I feel no problems about joining in public and family celebrations of these values because peace, goodwill to all men is not just a Christian sentiment." We are called every day, and especially during this Christmas season to be obedient and available every day when God calls on us to love and to do no harm. My oldest son is a non-believer, yet he posts this on Google+: "I, too, am a try-my-very-best-to-be-moral, love-everybody-of-all-faiths, happy-to-wish-christians-"merry christmas" kinda atheist. I do wish those christians who get so very angry at us at christmas time would please cut it out and be nice to everyone instead ... like we all ought." My son didn't say it the way Jesus did when He said pretty much the same thing, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. There is no anger or war or hate in that thought--only love. It would change the world, and it would change you and me. We who take Jesus seriously, should work hard to bring peace and good will to all--and we don't do that with hate and angry words, the world is too full of those already. If Jesus could love even me, then I can love all--even those who do me ill.