MERRY CHRISTMAS! In keeping with my personality, as always, I’m on a different wavelength than everyone else. 75 years ago today my parents were married. I know it’s not as monumental an event as the birth of Jesus — but I guess I have a vested interest in their lives together! Looking back on December of 2016 I think there are some curious perilous parallels as this nation has certainly been shaken by the continuing post election drama. A 20-something young man was touched by the bombing of Pearl Harbor and he — that day — proposed to the girl of his dreams. Life being uncertain as it was back then, they married at the first opportunity which happened to be December 25 of 1941.
Life, however, is bigger than the perilous days in which we live. The follies and the obsessions of our times change nothing. Today 350,000 babies will be born, and Quora puts the number of deaths each day at something like 151,000. Barring pestilence and famine and war the population of the world is rising whether we think about it or not. I know there’s been a paranoia among some that the President Elect who will soon control the nuclear launch codes is going to plunge the entire world into some flaming cataclysm I honestly think that Christmas is bigger than any politician.
The birth of an infant in a manger some 2000 years ago seems such a ridiculously absurd even to be taken seriously in the modern world but the fact of the matter is that a great many of us do. And a great many who truly believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God — as irrational as that may seem — have nothing but joy to fill their hearts because of the birth we celebrate today.
A life of faith is not governed by logic and reason. We may not be ir-rational but the nature of faith is that faith is an acceptance of what cannot be seen or proven. Faith sometimes seems unreasonable to those who have it not, but we all exercise faith regarding a lot of things and don’t find that unreasonable. We have faith in what we call the rules of the universe, even though non-believers only have past history to rely upon for their actions. Non-believers accept that gravity rules and if they should step off a roof that they will unfailingly fall to the ground; we trust that each morning the sun will rise and the world will continue; children have faith in their parents to care for them and feed them even though they have no empirical evidence to prove their solvency or their love.
It’s not the fact of a mere birth that Christians celebrate today. That birth without the subsequent events of his life, his teachings, his death, and his resurrection would be anti-climatic. His birth alone accomplished nothing. — I suppose some without faith would say that none of the other events “accomplished” anything either. Let’s face it, we are all still waiting for the kingdom to come for which Jesus would later teach his disciples to pray. He himself told us plainly that his kingdom was not of this world.
No… there are times at which belief in the birth of Jesus, as well as in his life, and death and resurrection seem an absurdity. And yet millions continue to exercise faith, myself included. We find in Jesus, and in the Christian message, a pertinence and an anchor in the world today. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, who’s mind is staid on thee.” ‘Tis a simple sentence, easy to pronounce, easy to accept by faith, but such peace is not easy to realize for those who pretend to have faith, who lack substantive experience of faith.
It’s easy in a season when merchandising brainwashes us into the giving of gifts to get caught up in fever of gifting. It’s easy to point to wise men of the east who came with gifts for the child as examples of how to behave today. It’s also easy to go into debt in order to look good, to indulge imaginations, to pretend one lives a more posh life than they do.
But the message of the adult Jesus was more basic than indulging one’s whims and presenting generous appearance to others. The message of Jesus was about loving one another — not just family, but all. The message of Jesus was about justice and forgiveness and tolerance. Those are harder to find in today’s society. Those who live by his teachings are apt to give their alms to the poor without anyone knowing, and to avoid the publicity that so many seek. No gift cards with the name of the giver for them. They don’t need the attention or the notoriety.
I wonder if that’s where the idea of Santa Claus came from? It’s not like I’ve researched the question, but the idea of some one else giving the gifts that we ourselves have paid for, and getting the credit is actually a fairly Jesus-like thing to do. Our household is currently without little children. That may change in a year or several — once Mel is married I’m sure there will be many hoping that there are more children in the family. But until then we’ll find other ways to give.
I hope you have a great day. Enjoy the time with family. I’m hoping that with a more localized life maybe next year we’ll be spending the holiday WITH family instead of apart.
Thanks for stopping, and I’ll be here again tomorrow.