A Christmas meditation
I have a confession to make, I don’t much like Advent or Christmas. Oh, I like the liturgy and ritual, those remind me of why I believe as I do. I just don’t like all the other stuff: insipid Christmas movies, gift giving, Christmas cards, all of the socializing, and the commercials. Don’t get me started on the commercials! Such things all seem to be totally unimportant and not in keeping with why we have this time of remembrance.
The thing of it is, all of the stuff people do at this time of the year has little to do with remembering the birth of God in human flesh. I don’t mean the ridiculous little memes or signs that say, “Jesus is the reason for the season,” those have nothing to do with God’s rebellious act of an immigrant baby who claims the title of King and Son of God. That birth is revolutionary, that is prophetic, that is miraculous. The stupid memes that spout Jesus are really all about the gift giving Santa God that people hope will bring them ponies, or cars, or that one gift that will make them popular.
This Son of God wasn’t born to ensure that anyone got that fancy new Lexus, rather Jesus was born because the world needed the reminder of who they are, the Children of God. Two thousand years later we still haven’t remembered. Two thousand years later we still haven’t absorbed the message of the miracle that began with the announcement to a young woman and the birth of her baby. We still haven’t learned the lessons taught by the Man the baby became. Listening has never been a strong trait in us humans.
History has shown that the excessive acquisition of material goods, hoarding of monetary resources, and the desire to rule, intimidate, demean, abuse and destroy the weak, and to see ourselves as gods leads to the destruction of our very being and as a result whatever society we create. Notice I said ‘we’ as in you, me and the gatepost not as in you, me, and God. Throughout history when leaders of societies forget who the real societal creators are, when leaders feel they are entitled to benefits they have not worked for, the collapse is inevitable. When enslaving the population becomes the means of economic reward, when we, the citizens, allow leaders to deflect their responsibility for the failures of government and social welfare away from themselves and place it on the most vulnerable, and when we citizens fail to accept our part in the deception, then the culture and society we humans created becomes toxic and unable to sustain itself for very long.
What does any of this have to do with Christmas? Well, the birth of Jesus was supposed to signal a new age where the covenant with God would rule our lives. Every year we have the opportunity to renew our covenant and learn to live with God, however we define God. Yet the ‘good will’ we profess never seems to last through Christmas Day let alone a year. Every Christmas I see people donating to charities in a spirit of good will, yet on January 1st the demeaning and dehumanizing of the most vulnerable continues as if Christmas never happened. Food banks will again have to beg for food donations, men, women, and children will still be homeless and hungry. We will continue to let our government put babies in concentration camps where they are abused physically and sexually and allowed to die. All as if Christmas never happen.
I am not sure how, or if, any of this can be changed. I certainly cannot change how people feel or change how they behave. I do try to give all year round, instead of at years end, to charities that feed the poor, care for the homeless, and fight injustice. But I am only one person, and an old woman, who tries to do her small bit. The tears I shed only feed my frustration at the lack of humanity I see in our political, social, and so-called religious leaders, but I can’t change them either.
I am heartened by the stand of young women world-wide who are fighting an uphill battle against ignorance, climate destruction, and injustice. I am placing my hope in them, praying they have the strength to fend off the assaults they have, and will continue to, experience because they speak out against the established rulers of our day. I pray they will not become discouraged; they will continue to voice the truth and continue to call to account those who would destroy us. They are the new voices in the wilderness, the new voices of reason, and the new voices of truth. I pray they will not lose heart, that they will not be deflected from their chosen path by those who would marginalize them. May the light of whatever God they follow be with them.
Ruth Jewell, ©December 19, 2019