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This week’s note from Rev. Bill: WHAT DOES JESUS WANT FOR CHRISTMAS? PART 2”

  Someone told me recently that many people weren’t aware that there is more to our weekly newsletter than just the Pastor’s Article – they just read the Pastor’s Article and move on to the next e-mail. While I am pleased that my articles are read, THERE IS A WHOLE LOT MORE DOWN BELOW!!! Please continue to scroll down through the entire thing, and at least find out what the cats are up to now!

That being said, let’s continue with this article:

             Last week I posed the question, “What does Jesus want for Christmas?” Let’s continue down that path –

             A few years back I pulled out the TV section of the newspaper and counted up all of the “Christmas Specials” that were being aired during the season. At that time there were over 125 different programs listing “Christmas” in the title.

             But of those 125+, there were only two that mentioned “Jesus” specifically – a clay-mation special called “The Littlest Donkey”, and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (where Linus quotes Luke chapter 2).

             There were a number of specials that included a religious song or two, but most of the so-called “Christmas” shows were about getting the latest toy or trying to get home in time for a celebration.

             Being home with family is a good thing – but is that why we celebrate Christmas? Did Jesus come down to earth just so we could get together once a year and give each other presents? Is there a greater purpose that God is calling us towards?

             We say “Peace on earth” during this season. Do we mean it? I think a lot of people say it as a wish, as in “I wish that people would be nicer to each other.” So let me ask you – are YOU showing peace to an unreasonable person this season?

             In a few weeks I will be preaching a sermon on FORGIVENESS, so I’ll save some of my thoughts until then, but it’s important to remember that PEACE DOESN’T JUST HAPPEN – IT HAS TO BE WAGED.

 

             It’s easy to be peaceful with the people who agree with me, with the people whom I like and they like me. We can squabble and then quickly get over it and live in peace. But those people that disagree with me (who are obviously idiots!) – can I make peace with them?

             Listening to the news yesterday I was struck by the “animalistic” rhetoric that was being thrown about by both the Israelis and Hamas – depicting the other side as animals, less than human, so we don’t have to treat them as human. Anytime you hear someone calling another person “less than human” you can bet that they are going to do something horrific. It happens in politics, in warfare, and even on the schoolyards. We had more mass shootings this past week – and in every case, the shooter/military leaders/politicians talked about the “others” as something other than a person to be loved and valued.

             Do I really want peace on earth? If so, what am I going to do about it?

             Peace must be waged. It doesn’t just happen. It requires thought, planning, sacrifice. When I wage peace, when I work for equal rights for migrants/gays/women/the environment, someone is going to be upset. They will come back at me and the people that I love.

             But if I’m not willing the pay the price now, then my grandchildren will have to, and at a much greater cost. Problems don’t get better on their own – they have to be addressed.

             What does Jesus want for Christmas? He wants for me to join Him in waging peace – loving my adversary, forgiving those who wrong me, caring more about His Kingdom than my comfort, trusting that hope and healing are the true way. 

-Rev. Bill

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