the Gift

They came from the East bearing gifts;  but the One they came to honor was the greatest gift of all.

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“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be anymore pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:4

Can we imagine a world as described above?  Probably not.  And most likely we should not expect it anytime soon.  Back in the 1960s, when life was young and irreverent, my contemporaries who had taken time to read the Revelation of the Bible would exclaim,

“Cool, far out, that dude John must have been on some kinda awesome drugs.”

Drugs indeed.  In my generation drugs, alcohol and sex were the answer to all of life’s problems.  We proclaimed it on the streets and in our music.  That was the world in which we lived.  Many stayed there, some died there, but God, for unknown reasons, brought a few into His world of forgiveness and grace – a place where all the sorrows and pain still existed, but we now had the tools to co-exist with death and heartache living life abundantly.

That is what the ‘greatest gift’ given to us in the teachings and words of Jesus, the Christ, is all about.  The world is what it is, always has been a violent, miserable place and probably always will be.  But, now we don’t have to wallow in it.  We have a place to go deep within and commune with a God who wants peace and brotherhood for all mankind.  That light we experience within can defeat the darkness surrounding us.  Like Jesus, we were born to live it and share it.  Black, brown, white, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jew, male, female, gay, straight – all were invited to the table set by the birth of a baby in Bethlehem two millenia ago.  I’ve been invited, you too.  C’mon, let’s party hearty over the birth of the Good News!  AMEN.

MERRY CHRISTMAS 🙏❤

 

neutrality?

I shared recently with a friend that my life sometimes seems to be driven by a need to stand ready and armed in the attack mode.  So many happenings in our world, so many leaders, and so many “experts” could benefit immensely by a few words of advice and castigation from me, the great I am, the final word of wisdom on anything from negotiating with North Korea to relief for the poverty-stricken of the world.  I know all; I have the answers and I am going to let you know what they are.

With that frame of mind being on the offensive, some of the people I encounter immediately assume a response of counter-attack and, by golly, the fight of the century is happening amongst the pots and pans hanging in my kitchen.  Words for fighting and weapons hanging from the cupboards were the last thing on my mind when I offered my expertise on problems within our government.  But, words were shared, pans did fly and the least of my worries became the antics of an infantile President.  Duck!! here comes Grandma’s favorite 9″ cast iron fry pan.

Fear and insecurity often drive pride into my world.  That pride, if left unchecked, will take me to places I truly don’t need to go, to places best left to those who are willing to suffer the consequences of voicing opinions about political corruption and ineptitude.  Although, in the words of Elie Wiesel, neutrality is not an option in issues of social injustice, maintaining neutrality in a political discussion with neighbors is often an action of pure wisdom.  I would do best to save my fight for issues that bring me to a state of weeping and compassion for oppressed and suffering brothers and sisters.  Political structures are a dime-a-dozen, they come and go just as the seasons of the year pass without fail.  But, the suffering and oppressed are always with us, always needing an advocate.  No, I don’t suffer from a savior complex.  I simply must anticipate always the scenario which Jeremy Camp sings about…..there will be a day.

REVELATION 21:4

CANDLE