It is Monday evening. I’m sitting in my library staring at a porcelain manger scene that my sister made for me over 30 years ago.
One of the wise men's camels exploded in the middle of our son’s football game with his pal when they were young, but it is otherwise complete. I wonder if the wise men worried about the world exploding. I doubt it.
The existence of the "Star in the East" may have been enough to give them pause about their fate. Indeed it must have. They followed it and discovered a new world.
Photo Credit: www.solawakening.com
There before them lay a baby. Born in poverty and unencumbered by the trappings of influence and power, this baby gave new meaning to life.
He arrived unheralded traveling in his mother’s womb on the back of a donkey. His mother and father were subjects coming to be counted by the government.
The counting originated with the governor of Syria. His father, Joseph, “also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David).”
Mary and Joseph were coming, voluntarily, to be taxed.
The Syrians are counting again today. They are counting bodies. The tribulations in the land we call Holy seem to know no end. The circumstances change with technology, but they remain the same.
Jesus came to bring eternal life. His quiet supplication for civility and respect bring people to altars across the world, but have we become more civil? Do we respect others?
Today’s news brings us videos of a marauding army of true believers crucifying children, beheading infidels and burning others alive.
They are moving into Europe and are in our own nation. To do what? To kill in order that the god that they worship prevails.
Fanatics are lopping off the heads of others in the name of the lord, and we wonder.
We see the leader of over a billion Catholics focused, not on the crucifixion of Christians in the Middle East, but on the weather.
We see our own president refusing to brutally confront this atrocity. Nor will he confront the irredentism of Russia, which occupied our best and brightest for 50 years.
The people of Ukraine are cold and lonely and watching tanks on their borders. The people of Taiwan are watching the military maneuvers on their borders. China is building islands to expand their influence in the South China Sea and the free and thriving nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania watch and worry.
They too will be in the churches on this Christmas Eve. They will be praying for deliverance from mindless killing and Godless statism.
In the pews they will kneel and say, in words that cannot be refuted, “I serve but one Master. You may take my freedom, but you will not take my soul.”
And, in their message, we see the message of Christmas. Jesus did not come to deliver the millennium for “the people” of the world. He came to give each “person” a way for eternal life.
God sees us one by one. Irrespective of our color, nationality or place in life we are all just one person before the Lord with the same promise of salvation.
All of the despots of my studies, and many of the popularly elected leaders, have failed in that one lesson on leadership.
It is not their job – or indeed within their power – to create a nation or a world to satisfy “the people.” I have never known anyone who could even define what “the people” wanted.
They have only the obligation to create a world in which each “person” can achieve his or her goals, unencumbered by governmental restraint or cultural bias.
The wise men were fortunate to recognize the significance of this event and were in a position to honor it with splendid gifts. That is appropriate to such an auspicious occasion.
The “Little Drummer Boy” was not so fortunate as to have a precious gift. According to the song he had “no gift to bring...fit for a King.” So he asked if he could play a song for Him on his drum. “Mary nodded... and he played his drum for Him... the baby smiled at him.”
And so it is for us all. Our gift on this Christmas need not be riches or splendor, merely an effort to honor the life He lived and live the life He taught: To love God – and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
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