|SW, Washington DC, 2009, jfd+|
In yesterday's reading from Luke, Jesus flummoxed the chief priests and scribes when they attempted to trap him about paying taxes to the Roman occupiers. Looking at a coin with the emperor's likeness, he said "Then give to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's."
Today, he does the same to the Sadducees responding to their nonsensical question about a woman marrying seven brothers. He talks about the God of the living, not the dead, for Abraham and Isaac and Jacob are alive to God.
The responses Jesus has given stunned these folks to silence, but that did not stop their plotting against him. I am struck by the juxtaposition of these individuals' silence, and we, as Christians, remaining silent about the secularization of Nicholas, who we remember and honor today in Holy Women Holy Men. We (and I am speaking of the entirety of Western Christendom here) have done a very bad job allowing our children to be brought up with this idea of Santa Claus coming at Christmas. Almost all of us do this. Almost all of us have been bamboozled into letting Jesus be pushed out of this holiday - this holy day.
Yes, I am being Scrooge-like today. But, what would our world be like if we celebrated the birth of Jesus by feeding the poor, taking care of the widow and orphan, visiting those imprisoned, having our children not be lied to...living out the Gospel we read and preach and study? Our silence has helped God's message to be silenced. And I am just as guilty of participating in this secularization of Jesus...of not providing a plausible alternative....It seems so big, so out of control....And yet, God's message of love still sounds all the louder, the cry of the infant and the joy at the birth is still resonant...all we have to do is look upon that infant and remember that a different kind of joy can encompass all of us...one person at a time, this message of God's love for us can change the world.
Copyright 2012, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.