A Poem for Christmas Eve
Candlelit church services with wiggly children;
Warmth around a fireplace.
Last minute creating and cooking, shopping and wrapping;
Poignant memories of departed loved ones.
Meals served to thousands without a home;
Grace encounters as Christ comes clothed with gratitude.
The kettle bells ring one more day;
Families brave the weather to visit friends in need.
Divine love comes wrapped in swaddling clothes;
A Virgin Mother nurses her Creator and Redeemer.
Longings for peace arise in hearts;
The Prince of Peace comes near.
A Merry Christmas to all!
Celebrating Advent and enjoying the Christmas
Season warrants reflection of the love of God in Jesus and our response
to this grace through our love for one another. Sometimes this requires
some unlearning. Here are some historical reflections that can help us
and Joseph were not poor and homeless. They were artisans and small
business owners that needed temporary shelter during the census.
were despised by much of society and represented the poor and humble.
How wonderful that they are given revelation of God’s glory in the
humility of Jesus!
Magi from the East arrived about 18 months after the birth of Jesus and
their caravan probably had 40-50 people. It was a major moment of honor
and King Herod, already paranoid and powerful, was deeply threatened.
Interestingly, Christmas was not a universal Holiday in the USA until later in the 19th
C. the combination of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s hearty
celebrations imported from Germany and the marketing of Sears and
Coca-Cola with Santa helped tipped the scales toward joyful gift
is a season of celebration and reflection as we consider the holy
humility of our Lord and the promise of peace in his coming to us. May
we welcome him with open hearts and extend open hands to our neighbors.
We have more tax revenues than ever…and ballooning deficits in Washington, D.C. Neither party has the courage to balance a budget and repay obligations. Here are some insights for changing the conversation:
- Create a budget based on the real revenue of the previous year. If there is more money, decide ahead of time where it goes; if less, have the cuts ready.
- Unregulated capitalism and bureaucratic socialism achieve the same end: a few are enriched at the expense of most.
- Begin a process of removing the thousands of agricultural subsidies that benefit huge agribusinesses and are no longer needed.
- Transform HUD and other agencies into efficient, decentralized catalysts for help and transformation instead of career paths for bureaucrats.
- Cut defense spending and increase support for veterans. One less bomber means help for thousands of vets and less pork for Congress to give away.
- Privatize all public pensions, with excellent regulations through the SEC and other agencies. Eliminate the special retirement benefits for elected federal officials and have them held to the same economic standards as all citizens.
- Public employee unions should be able to bargain, but not hold taxpayers hostage to benefits they cannot afford. Bring all teachers and workers into Social Security and offer excellent private plans – just like the rest of the country.
- Hold all government agencies accountable for best practices and have private-sector leaders offer insights on efficient methods and ethics.
- Transform the IRS with simplification of the tax code and consider alternative ways of raising revenue.
- Invigorate private/public partnerships for all kinds of infrastructure, with high standards, but honest bidding processes and a cap on “change orders” and lawsuits.
- Stop sending tax dollars to colleges and universities for frivolous programs and lower the cost of education by demanding that teachers teach, and students work.
With courage, love and wisdom, we can change a 50-year trajectory.
North American Christianity needs a baptism of tears.
Instead of polarized invective that tears up apart, we need the tears of divine empathy to unite our hearts. The God of the Bible weeps and laughs, grieves deeply and dances with joy (Jeremiah 8-9; Zeph. 3; Luke 10, 19). Imagine our conversations with God and each other if we experience a baptism of tears:
We will weep deeply as we confront the racism and shed joyful tears as forgiveness triumphs over retaliation. We will weep, hearing the cries of creation as humans despoil the earth and we will cry aloud with delight as gospel hope inspires ecological healing.
We weep in intercession for our neighbors lost without Christ and shed tears of joy as converts are baptized and prodigals discover Abba Almighty waiting for them.
We will weep when a sister or brother suffers and find our eyes moist when healing flows.
This baptism of tears purges hubris and hypocrisy from our hearts. Tears will inspire love for enemies as we realize their need of grace.