I love Christmas!   I love the music of Christmas. I love the annual presentations of THE MESSIAH and A CHRISTMAS CAROL.   I love the Christmas Eve worship service by candle light, and with it the singing of Christmas carols.

I love the re-telling of the story of the young couple from Nazareth walking to Bethlehem where the young bride is to give birth to her “first born son.” I love the elegant song sung by this peasant girl and declaring that her son will be the promised new revolutionary leader who will overthrow the oppressors of the Hebrew people.   What more beautiful story exists?

I love the underlying resolve of the Christian Church that in this “New Messiah” we experience the very incarnation of the love of God, and that—symbolically—we demonstrate God’s love through gift giving.

I don’t like shopping! But, I do like much of the extraneous and non-Christian trappings that now accompany the Christian celebration of the Love of God in the world: decorations of holly, ivy and fir branches; parties and feasting.

I love the motivation to remember the unfortunate and to give that there may be some comfort and beauty in their lives.

I love Judaism: the source of Christianity. Jews are our special “brothers and sisters” in the religious quest for justice, peace and liberty.   Jesus was born a Jew, and never resigned his Judaism.   To this day, many Jews model the quest for excellence, and they often model generosity to charity that is rarely matched by others.   Jesus was a Jew, as were all his early disciples. Much of Christianity is Jew-“ish.” Most of our Christian “Holy Bible” is Jewish.

For Christians, the Jewish notion of a Messiah has taken on new meaning.   Jesus’ personal courage and humiliating death move us.   In the Resurrection story is seen the eternality of Divine Love.   In the life, teachings, thought, and Spirit of Jesus we find salvation from the little devils which attack us daily: selfishness, stinginess, narrow-mindedness, fear, and doubt.   From this understanding of Jesus, we claim a special kind of faith, joy, courage, and reverence.

Some of the poetic expressions of Negro Spirituals make it so powerful when we understand ourselves as being sustained in “the bosom of Jesus.”

Let there be Christmas in your soul….”stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.” “Let the same Mind which was in Christ be in you.”   “Let My joy be in you and let your joy be full.”

BUT….dear one….do not let social pressure originating in profit- seeking merchants cause you to “bust your budget,” wear you out, or frazzle your soul!   Worship God. Love others.   Eat and drink to Life!

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