“Thoughts for Christmas Day, 2012”

“For unto us a child is born”

A child was born this morning into a world of violence and hatred, into a world of military power and oppression, into a world where peace was proclaimed around the world but it was a peace obtained through might and not love.

It was and is a world where what matters is more a measure of where you came from and not who you are. It is not what is in your heart but what is your bank account that counts the most. It was and is a world that measures success by the amount of stuff that you have and how much stuff you can amass.

It was and is a world where it what you do for me is more important that what I do for you.

This was the world into which Jesus Christ was born but how much different is the world today? Twenty children and six adults at an elementary school are killed with a gun and many people say that we need more guns. How much different is that from the Pax Romana where peace was maintained through oppression?

We send our young off to war in far away lands and when they come home we toss them aside. What did the parents of Roman soldiers say or think when their sons were sent off to Roman outposts in the Galilee or England? Were the wars and police actions of the Roman army any different from our engagement in Afghanistan?

We have turned the birth of a child into a major economic scenario. We are more concerned with the presents we buy than we are with the significance of Jesus’ birth. And I sometimes, quite honestly, think that we don’t want to know much about the birth.

We sing of the shepherds visiting the family, not realizing the social statement that this makes. We forget that shepherds were the outcasts of society in Jesus’ birth and for them to receive the Good News of Jesus’ birth first was a major social statement that the lowest of society would be the first in God’s Kingdom.

The wise men came seeking the Christ Child and yet today wisdom and thought no longer seem to matter. The wise men had to leave the comfort of their home and go beyond normal boundaries to seek new knowledge and yet today we are fearful what lies over the horizon and beyond the boundaries of our lives. I have no doubts that the wise men understood why Herod wanted to know where this young child was; they understood the meaning of the message of the angel that they should return home by another route. Are we as willing to day to discern the difference by the desires of the powerful and greedy and the needs of the people?

We woke this morning to the knowledge that innocent people were killed and we may never know why. We woke this morning with wars and violence all around the world. The world in 2012 is not much different from what it was over two thousand years ago.

But just as we celebrate the birth of a child two thousand years ago, we celebrate the birth of children today here, in our own extended family twins were born yesterday, and elsewhere. If there is to be a future, it will be in the children and how we treat them.

A child was born some two thousands years ago and His Birth determined our future.

We can continue to live in this world of hatred and war and know that there is no future.

Or we can honor Christ’s Birth and continue the mission, the ministry that began two thousand years and know that there will be a future.

How we respond to Christ’s Birth this Christmas day will tell us what our future shall be.

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