Seasonal Reflection: Christmas, 2014

Reflecting on Peace


But for you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah
least among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler.
Micah 5: 1

 

From the least shall come the greatest. Over and over again we encounter references to Jesus’s humble beginnings. He was born in the insignificant town of Bethlehem. He was born in a stable among animals and laid in a manger. His first visitors were poor, probably dirty, smelly, uneducated shepherds. His parents were simple people chosen for their faith, not their wealth or power.





How then did we get to the opulence of today’s Christmas celebrations, the ones that fill our TV screens with one message: BUY! Even children are now asking for expensive cars for gifts in what seems like every other commercial. As much as we may like Christmas lights, is it really in the spirit of the first Christmas to spend thousands of dollars and to use unknown amounts of electricity to outshine your neighbors with excessive decorations? How dare we call ourselves a Christian nation when there is nothing Christ-like in our materialistic values? This is not just a matter of forgetting the real meaning of the holy/holiday. It is a matter of ignoring the humility and simplicity of its origin.

Let us use this Christmas as an opportunity to find Jesus once again in the least among us and the least within us. Let us see the greatness that others may miss in children and the aged, the sick and disabled, the hungry and homeless, the weak and the vulnerable. Let us cultivate greatness in our own frailties and fears. Let us enjoy the greatness of gifts that can’t be bought, of stars that light our sky and prayers that nourish our souls. It is in them that Jesus resides and there that he awaits our celebration. Let us meet him where he is.

 



Prayer

Almighty and all powerful God, 
We fill our lives with work, projects, and pleasures and we have become weighted down.

Lord, we confess that we too often align contentment with mediocrity. 
We have allowed our lives to be anchored to a debt of materialism rather than Christ.

Let us unclutter our lives, unbind our hearts, and seek you first. 
Liberate us, let nothing separate us; let nothing come between our soul and our Savior Jesus Christ,

In whose name we gather and in whose name we pray. Amen.

http://revmomma.blogspot.com/2009/01/prayer-for-simplicity-and-contentment.html

 

 


Suggested Actions

  •  

    - Read the Christmas narrative in scripture, focusing on the simplicity and humility of Jesus’s birth.

    - Think of all you don’t have. Reflect on whether you would be better off with it, or if you are more blessed by its absence.

    - Hold to simple gifts, simple decorations, simple acts of kindness, and tell others how and why you value them as you do.

    - Take notice of the wisdom and beauty in those who may not at first seem either wise or beautiful. Let them know how much you appreciate them.

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