Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Christmas Letter from a Dear Friend

I receive this letter from a dear friend ... you'll enjoy reading it, to ...

Christmas 2011

Dear friends and family,

Rather than expose you to my customary annual rant, I decided that giving thanks for the many blessings that have come our way might be more appropriate.  But then, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I am giving thanks for blessings that millions of people do not enjoy.  

This afternoon I visited ... Hospital where I saw many people bent over walkers, others limping along or otherwise in obvious distress and I thought to myself, “Thank God I am not like them,” which of course reminded me of the gospel text where two men went up to the temple area to pray and the one said, “O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity---greedy, dishonest, adulterous…”  So I decided that giving thanks may just be an exercise in self-congratulations and selfishness.  So what can I write that might bring some realistic joy to all of our hearts?

I guess the easiest is to speak in abstract terms and say ‘Christmas is all about Jesus being born among us to bring hope into the world.’  Jesus came to make the world a better place and yet, after 2000 years, it is still a pretty rough place for billions of people (yes, we reached the 7 billionth population threshold just recently).  

People talk about putting the Christ back into Christmas.  I’m not sure what they mean by that, but it sounds good.  Yes, Christmas is all about Jesus together with all its implications.  So, my prayer for you this Christmas and coming New Year is that we all try to understand the relevance that Jesus holds for the world.  

‘Joy to the World’ can be nothing more than hollow sounding words for those who are not touched by the love that Jesus calls us to spread around us.  So together with  our family... I invite you to be heralds of Good News that Jesus came to proclaim.  

We wish you health, happiness and joy in the coming year and peace on earth to all men of good will.  And we pray for all those who are suffering because of the terrible straits of the world economy.  Let us have hope that 2012 will bring greater prosperity to the peoples of our world.

In the love of Christ,

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Religious Experience at AAA

Getting my International Driver's Licence at the local AAA Office - I noticed a banner hanging overhead:

Through all of life's travels, we're always with you.

I thought of Jesus and his promise to the disciples, "I am with you always to the end of the age."

Several brochures caught my eye.

All roads lead to great rewards.

Every road we travel, God at the end of it.

Rewards abundant: the love of fellow-travelers, lessoned learned, dreams achieved, goals reached, grace received and grace given.

The Psalmist asks, "Where could I go to escape your Spirit?" ... there is no escape from God ... every road we travel, be the road glorious or gritty, it leads to God ... God's blessing or God's judgment, and mostly a little of both ... but always God! God at the end of the road. God as the road. And God at the beginning, too.

The other brochure that caught my attention:

A Holiday Gift to last a lifetime.

The gift of Jesus to a sin-sick work - last's a lifetime, and then some.

Nothing temporary about the love of God - Paul writes, "love endures."

Through thick and thin, sick and sin, a lifetime's worth of mercy and blessings, counsel and guidance, hope and peace.

I said to the lady helping me, "I had no idea AAA was such a religious place - the banner overhead and the brochures."

She said, "You're right. I wonder who wrote all of that stuff."

And we both had a good chuckle.