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Living the Spirit of Christmas December 14, 2017

Posted by Ventura Dreamer in Blogroll.
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From The Upper Room Disciplines 2017, a wonderful reminder of how to celebrate the season by Frank Rogers Jr., Professor at Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, California:

Mike hated the commercialism of Christmas. When forced to retire early, he checked out altogether. “Get me nothing,” he grouched, “until people understand what Christmas is all about.” That year, his wife, Nan, gave him a white envelope, which she nestled into the tree. Inside, Nan pledged to sew uniforms for an underprivileged wrestling team. Once she started, Mike decided to help. Together, they sized the children, cut the fabric, and befriended the school kids. By year’s end, Mike was ready for another envelope. Nan left another that Christmas, and each year thereafter. The acts of kindness they shared together sprouted throughout their city: birdhouses for a refuge, a playground for a children’s home, a community garden from a vacant lot. Those became the best years of their lives.

One year, Mike passed away three days before Christmas. Friends and family gathered to share Nan’s grief. On Christmas Eve, Nan placed, for Mike, one last envelope into the tree. She awoke Christmas morning to squeals downstairs. As she came down, she surveyed her loved ones. Then she saw the tree. It was covered in white. Dozens of envelopes—from every child, grandchild, nephew, and niece—pledged acts of kindness in honor of Mike, the man who loved Christmas.

How do we wait faithfully for God in the wilderness? The prophet Isaiah says, “Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.” We pave a straight path for God through acts of kindness, justice, generosity, and compassion. When we love, God will come. “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me,” John says. As sure as a baby’s birth in a manger, as abundant as Christmas envelopes multiplying into the future, God will walk the path laid out. Love will encompass our world.

However you celebrate Christmas, whether you believe in the Christ child or celebrate this time of year with your own faith or cultural community, share the love and spirit of giving. Happy Holidays!