Christmas is a time for celebrating family and friends and extending fellowship to all. It is a time for worship and remembering the sacrifice God made to send his son into the world. Also, it is a time for reflection on the past year, and boy do we have a year to reflect on! Beginning with an election campaign filled with calls for disengaging from our love affair with wealth and embracing leveling the playing field for the poor, it is a year to look back on and examine our values. It was a year that gave support to an isolationist mentality as frustrations grew out of the uncertain impact illegal immigrants had on the economy and rising concern and fears over instability and terrorism in the Middle East. Sometimes seemingly focused on the disenfranchisement of diversity in America, 2016 was divided by conservative versus liberal, Democrat versus Republican, Christians versus LGBT, and black versus white. Highlighted by a Presidential election like no other in history, the year gave us reason to question our decency, sense of justice, and even our humanity. 2016 gave us a lot to reflect upon, but unless that reflection leads to lessons learned, it will be just another year to count as a year older, but no wiser.
Hopefully, during this Christmas season, we can slow down enough to realize that in spite of all our problems and differences, we nevertheless work, play, and live in the greatest nation on earth. We are one people under one flag under God, and regardless of individual stands as conservative, liberal, Democrat, Republican, Christian, LGBT, black, or white, we are one brotherhood sharing the gift of being Americans. As a Christian nation, we must reflect on our views of the poor, those standing at our door, and the diversity of our brothers. We must ask ourselves if as Christians we reflect and uphold the views of Christ, who was born poor and never held a job other than as an itinerant preacher, was an immigrant taken by his earthly parents to a foreign land to escape the murderous intentions of Herod, and who as a man of God embraced lepers, prostitutes, and Samaritans.
In 2016, Americans cast enough righteous stones at one another to destroy a lesser nation. Instead of respecting differences, “I am right; you are wrong” became a recurring battle cry across the nation. No one was interested in hearing what anyone had to say; Americans only wanted to be heard. That failure to communicate is still very much alive, but hopefully, the Christmas season will slow things down a bit and allow time to reflect on how we might once again learn to respectfully listen to each. To do that, we must stop seeing and judging our fellow man as we would have him be and accept each other as who we are. We must remember during this special season that Jesus was born into the world not to judge us, but to save us, and in turn, to save America, we must stop judging one another.
Hopefully the magic of Christmas will wrap itself around each of us during this Christmas season, and point to a much higher road in 2017 than we traveled in 2016. If we cross our fingers, wish upon a star, and pray anything is possible. Until then, I hope this Christmas fulfills all your dreams and brings peace, love, and joy into your life. This is the time of year everyone needs a little Christmas magic, and I pray you find yours. Merry Christmas, and God bless us all!
©Jack Linton, December 18, 2016