Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Why I Really Need Christmas This Year!

 

December 1, 2019 | View PDF

I really need Christmas this year!

Let’s face it! There is a lot of division and mistrust in our culture, in our communities and in our country right now.

On the political front, we are so divided! More divided than I have ever witnessed in my lifetime. We negatively label each other as Democrats, Republicans, Socialists or Libertarians. We are stereotyped as liberals or conservatives or moderates. It seems we have a hard time having civil conversations about things that matter deeply to us. This isn’t just happening in Washington DC. It’s happening right here at home with our own friends, co-workers, fellow church members and within our families too. The whole country seems fractioned about a great many things not to mention our current political state of affairs as well as the future direction of our great nation.

On social media, we are quick to post our views and formulate our opinions based on the very limited information we may have on any given subject. We like or dislike, we friend and unfriend, we tweet or post. We spend on average two hours and 23 minutes per day on social media. Some of it is great for staying in touch with our “friends”, but I wonder how much of it is all about sharing with the world how “great” our life is or comparing ourselves with others and how “blessed” they are.

In many cities and communities, gun violence and criminal activity is a daily concern. We talk about the different sides of town and socioeconomic and racial division. Young girls are being kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery right here in our own state. Atlanta International Airport is one of the biggest hubs (#2 in the world) for sex trafficking. Did you know that I-20 is considered a sex trafficking superhighway running right through our state?

Children and young women are being targeted regularly by sexual predators and abductions are being highlighted and reported more and more in social media and on the news.

Even my own denomination is in the midst of a culture war over human sexuality, and it threatens to divide our great United Methodist Church. Please pray for the UMC as we prepare for our international General Conference in May of 2020, as the future direction of the denomination will be the main topic of debate. It’s sad to me, because I have many friends and colleagues on different sides of these issues throughout the UMC. I know where I stand on these issues, but I am also very aware of the fact that in the long run that some of us may be serving in different, new expressions of Methodism.

Yes, the troubled state of the world, our unsettled country and divisions within my denomination make me sad. My United Methodist Pastor friend, Shane Bishop, recently wrote a blog that sparked my interest as he was voicing the frustrations of many of us and the need for Christmas this year. He writes:

“I am so ready for the holidays this year... I am especially excited about Christmas. I need Christmas this year. Peace on earth. Goodwill to Men. Christmas Eve services. Angels. Shepherds. Mary. Joseph. Baby Jesus. Hark the Herald! Joy to the World! That kind of stuff. That is exactly what I need.

As we enter the “most wonderful time of the year” don’t forget to say a prayer for healing and peace....and for God to raise up healers and peacemakers. And don’t be so glued to this earth that you neglect to look up. Look up and see the Christmas star blazing in the night sky and angels announcing to our troubled world that Christ is born...born in you and in me!

Peace dear friends and don’t give in to hopelessness, fear and despair. God has this. God has you. You are of value, you matter, and you are loved. And most of all, remember that there is hope in Christ. Always has been. Always will be. Hope is the one thing Christmas refuses to allow us to forget....”

Yes. I really need Christmas this year! How about you?

So, what are we going to do about it?

Here are some ideas: Let’s take advantage of all the Christmas services, events, plays, parties and concerts. Avail ourselves of the Christmas Eve services, the manger scenes, the children’s Christmas programs, the Christmas lights and the great Christmas season music. Read the Christmas stories in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

I really need Christmas this year!

In fact, the whole world really needs Christmas this year!

And so do you!

Merry Christmas!

 

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