Friday, December 19, 2008
Walking along a darkened, snowy street at night, I saw a house with an upper window lit. Sitting upon the sill was a silver Christmas ornament, gleaming with the reflection of a few small, twinkling lights.
Chilly snowflakes fell down the back of my neck - but I felt warmed with a sense of Christmas cheer. The room within, of which nothing was visible, seemed inviting beyond measure.
The person living there could not know the immensity of the gift that came to a stranger through their simple statement of faith.
In the world at large Christ now seems so far away. The newscast is a constant drum beat of mankind’s ills, which continue to grow relentlessly. New records of fright and fear are set on a daily basis:
December layoffs exceed one hundred thousand; in November half a million jobs were lost. The current recession is the worst since World War II. U.S. homes have lost $2 trillion in value during 2008 and no bottom is in sight. Some 11.7 million Americans now owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. The International Council of Shopping Centers forecasts that 148,000 retail establishments will go out of business and 6,100 chain stores will close this year. The Federal Reserve has cut its key interest rate to an unprecedented level of between zero and 0.25 percent. In November consumer prices fell by 1.7%, the greatest amount since the Department of Labor began publishing in 1947. American household net worth also dropped by the largest amount on record based on data going back to 1951.
In this atmosphere of global economic stress and uncertainty, holiday cheer seems hard to come by. But then, it is always difficult to honor Christ and allow him to come into this world.
The traditional Christmas pageant plays out in Churches year after year: Joseph knocks at the door of the “Bethlehem Inn” and is told there is no room. But this ancient story unfolds within our own hearts as well.
What Christ is and represents is something the mind of man can neither comprehend nor accept.
The unwelcome divine child born in the presence of dumb beasts will later be charged as an unwelcome savior and killed as a criminal. This also we must find room for in our hearts.
For in that death Christ descends into hell and rescues Adam and Eve. My Adam and Eve . . . and your Adam and Eve.
Posted by DEE at 11:19 AM