Christmas Day, 2015

 

I straightened out the “Jesus: The Reason for the Season” sign next to our figures of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus.  Overhead a strange sound passed by.  Then I heard the three watchful neighborhood crows gathering around a pine tree in neighbor Kevin’s front yard.  “That was a distressed hawk or owl seeking to escape its black winged tormenters.” The crows remind me of the three witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

We celebrate the incarnation of God and yet like the crowded inn with the “No vacancy” sign, the world goes on about its usual business.  Soon Jesus will be pursued by the “crow” Herod,

Yet the silence of the morning, no rush hour traffic on Lindberg, allowed me to clearly hear the chimes hanging on tree branches in the cemetery tinkling as they swayed in the sun warmed breeze.  On the TV choirs from Belmont University in Nashville and St. Thomas College in St. Paul filled the house with the songs of the birthday of the Savior.

But the news told of a night time double fatality on I-70 which left Christmas gifts strewn across the freeway.  Today a family mourns the death of a 3 year old shot by a 15 year old overnight guest who brought a gun with him to his sleep over.

“Fear not,” the angel told the Shepherds and yet we are daily told to “fear much” and close our doors to those who need a place of refuge.  It was heartening to read Michael Gerson’s column in which he quotes extensively from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Letters and papers from Prison” written while in a Nazi prison.  Gerson wrote, “In the Christian view, the door was swung open by the incarnation, by a God who somehow became a defenseless child…A God who-strangely, paradoxically, mysteriously-at the end felt abandoned by God.  A God on our side.”  Gerson ends his column with a final quote from Bonhoeffer:

“God wants to always be with us, wherever we may be-in our sins, in our suffering and death.  We are no longer alone:  God is with us.  We are no longer homeless; a bit of the eternal home itself has moved unto us.”

Gerson:  “This, despite all our fears and doubts, is Christmas:  a God secretly revealed as love.”

 

michaelgerson@washpost.com

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