Comment from Ken: When we start our walk I never know what will be said; maybe tonight there’s too much. I don’t think so – any way, you always have a right to comment back.
Scripture: Luke 2: 1 – 7.
1And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.
2This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.
3So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
4Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea,
to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the
house and lineage of David, 5to be registered with Mary,
his betrothed wife, who was with child.
6So it was, that while they were there, the days
were completed for her to be delivered.
7And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him
in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.
It is rather late to take a walk for the time is almost seven o’clock in the evening, and it is very dark and very cold outside. Quite a bit of snow remains on the ground around our home, and that and the cold makes inside our home our refuge. Come sit with me for a while in my study and look out the window and see the two trees that have Christmas lights on them. One tree has white lights and the other has colored ones. That will always be my favorite tree for when the snow covers a fir tree with colored lights, the glow of colors under the snow are ever so beautiful.
So many times, I know I have told you why I treasure the outside lighted Christmas tree for when I was a boy we were not allowed to light outside Christmas trees. It was the time of the Second World War, and lights were to be kept at a minimum for the use of electricity and for the enemy not to be guided to our cities. It is a privilege for us to be able to have a lighted Christmas tree outside of our homes and in our communities.
Sometimes I yearn for those days so long ago when our country was united with a purpose against an evil enemy. We were all Americans – loving and believing in our country, willing to sacrifice so that right might win over wrong. We were not divided, and the celebration of our Christmas holiday was not questioned. Today it is a scandal for the government to fund a Christmas tree on government property.
This last week in New Hampshire, the news told of a Rabbi in Durham wishing to put up a menorah on the same property as a Christmas tree. Truthfully, I do not think I understood the ruling of the official in that community that would not allow that or questioned the placement of the menorah. Personally, I am so irritated by these needless arguments that I have come to believe that every Christian Church should light a Christmas tree on their own property and sing carols around it and let the government land be just government land, stark cold and many times heartless and without any feeling but that of power.
Oh, you think I am a little feisty tonight? I must admit I am a little tired, but why fight the tide of secularism that wishes to take down the symbols of light and peace and of God.
Again when I was a boy, Christmas in public school was a great celebration for all. It meant decorating our school windows with paper candles and wreaths green with red berries on them. We all enjoyed making those items and putting them up on our school windows and on our classroom walls. Who did not enjoy the ice cream – brick called ice cream, vanilla with a green Christmas tree in the center? Or the cookies the teacher brought? Did it really matter religion. Our assistant superintendent of schools came to our assembly hall and told us the most beautiful stories of Christmas. Hundreds of us sat so happy hearing such meaning full stories. And who did not enjoy a vacation at the beginning of winter? Were all those things anti someone else’s beliefs?
While growing up, every Sunday night my parents and us children gathered around a radio, popcorn in our hands, and listened to the Jack Benny Christmas show. At the end of that show, he wished us a Merry Christmas.
Jack Benny was of the Jewish faith and so was Irving Berlin. He wrote “White Christmas”. Christmas was a holiday not to isolate nonbelievers but to share a joyful and happy part of our Christian faith. I have no objection to sharing in the happy celebrations of other faiths if they wish to share them with me. Ah I know, but the government, the government must not be used for any religious purposes even when that religion teaches the brotherhood of all, peace and kindness virtues our government would say they cling to.
Maybe we should have gone out in the cold to cool me off. No, take me seriously; I am really at this point in favor of removing our celebration of Christmas from government property and funding to our churches. Think how beautiful it would be in every community if every church that believed in the birth of Jesus Christ had a glowing Christmas tree before it to be enjoyed by all in the community.
I think Jesus would approve of that rather than the strife felt over the most wonderful birth that ever took place. That is my opinion – take it or leave it as you like for I live in a free country established by those who believed in a God, a higher power.
I’m glad this walk is over – you probably are too. Sometime before Christmas, go on the Internet to an old Jack Benny Christmas show when he is buying gifts. I think you will laugh at one of the Christian traditions of giving gifts (maybe even a wallet).
Prayer: Dear God grant us laughter at this time of year, patience with each other, and a refusal to enter silly arguments about Christmas trees and Menorahs and other religious symbols in our secular world. We love Your Son, God, thank You for His presence on earth, at his birth and even now. Amen.