TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS 2010...
In the late 1950s we all talked about the Russian sputnik. Thirty years later we watched the Spaceship Columbia dock in CA for the third time. Through that time Congress financed huge missile programs: NIKE Missiles, Polaris submarines at Mare Island, CA. President Reagan publicized defending against nuclear attacks via space bubbles stationed in space.
I have a cartoon from the Wheeling, WVA News Register (12-15-58) describing Nancy saying to Sluggo: These Christmas Carols are so pretty. Let’s stop and sing one. “Okay” Sluggo agrees and you see them singing lustily, “Peace on earth.” Behind them are store windows filled with Christmas gifts: toy tanks, missiles, aircraft, and various weapons of massive destruction.
CHRISTMAS 2010 CHALLENGES US TO REEVALUATE WHO AND WHAT WE ARE! No numerical superiority of missiles or WMD will be an effective deterrent without the guiding genius of man’s mind. The U.S. and Russian military programs eventually created enough nuclear weaponry to annihilate civilization several times; yet, America in 2010 led the world (several times over) in creating still more (unneeded) weaponry. None of it can erase selfishness and hatred from a man’s heart or make one man love another, but it does create jobs and make money. Christmas is a call to reevaluate life and look at it through the eyes of God.
Creation at the core was good (Genesis 1:31). War, nationalistic greed, hatred, and debauchery all resulted from a misguided society, led by morally insane men that keep doing the same things while expecting different results. Solomon, that very wise man, said, “God has made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.”
CHRISTMAS 2010 REPEATS THE STORY OF GOD’S ETERNAL MISSILE PROJECTED INTO OUR TIME SPACE. Jesus was a guided missile launched from God’s space and time, delivered from the mind of God to the soul of man. More clearly than anything in history, Jesus revealed humanity’s misguidedness (sin). Jesus is yet showing that humanity can be redirected away from destruction’s detour, clarifying that the human heart can be personally transformed and live divinely directed in peace, joy, and good will.
The faith of men of good will, guided by Jesus, although small, has been the mustard seed that conquered mountains as great as the Roman Empire, and has overcome historical obstacles as stubborn as the conniving and scheming hearts of men of ill-will. more motivated by profit and personal gain than concern about others.
Men guided by God’s guided missile have become leaven in the loaf we call life, salt of the earth, and the light of the world. They work through local churches, relief agencies, Salvation Army Bell Ringers, and a host of Godly Messengers of good-will working feverishly to spread Christmas joy.
CHRISTMAS 2010 REVEALS HUMANITY’S DISCOVERY THAT GOD’S MESSENGER CAME TO SAVE US FROM OURSELVES. Christmas is redeemed multitudes from 2010 living in Christ Jesus as new creatures filled with love and hope, no longer captivated and subdued by an old life. Christmas is 2010 homes that possess a love that transforms houses from huts into palaces. Christmas is homes where innocent children of 2010 find space to test and practice Christian teachings and become mighty fortresses against satanic and sinful social forces.
Christmas sees through new eyes of responsibility and accountability and sees womanhood as a sacred trust that means far more than becoming an object for satisfying male sexuality (by no means the only function of womanhood). Christmas sees parenthood as a joint creation with God, and an experience of joy for the child birthed. Christmas becomes 2010 Christianity-in-action, working with native churches in unhealthy and unholy circumstances; Christmas once more remembers the story of how love and good will transform hatred and ill will.
Christmas is the reality of living the love of Christ in 2011, when
Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet ‘tis truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong,
Yet, the scaffold sways the future,
And, behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow
Keeping watch above his own (James Russell Lowell).
I was deeply moved when I read a local newspaper story that announced “Choirboy gone bad dies in electric chair (Three Rivers, MI Commercial, 12-14-1983). The story told how choirboy Robert Wayne Williams had gone bad. He went to his death in the Louisiana electric chair praying that his execution be a deterrent to future executions. The Reporter acknowledged that
“Williams, 31, also insisted in a brief final statement that he never
intended to kill Willie Kelly, the 67 -year-old A&P supermarket guard
he shot in the face with a shotgun during a 1979 robbery.”
That incident prompted me to contact Pastor J.D. Brown and it became a catalyst helping me redefine my beliefs about the death penalty. Brown conducted the funeral service at Faith Chapel Church of God in Baton Rouge when Williams had sung in the choir. The Eulogy revealed Williams as an 11th grade drop-out addicted to drugs.
The basic warfare of life should never be between Iraq and America, Terrorism versus the West, Hutu versus Tutu, or white versus black. Life’s real struggle is the moral issue between falsehood and truth. As Lowell wrote, Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide/In the strife of truth with falsehood for the good or evil side.
CHRISTMAS 2010 IS YET ANOTHER REMINDER THAT TO EVERY MAN AND NATION THERE COMES SPECIAL TIMES OF CHOOSING BETWEEN THE RIGHT AND THE WRONG. Misguided men have led us toward war and revolution and ethnic hostilities long enough. MERRY CHRISTMAS offers another opportunity to leave the substitutes, the synthetics, and the false and begin enjoying the HOPE that is filled with love, joy, faith, and opportunity for good.
As for me, I plan to use my opportunity to allow one more death row inmate a God-given opportunity (2nd chance) for redemption. I choose to use every means available to bring peace and to use hostilities (war) ONLY as something that cannot be avoided.
This Christmas Eve, I wish you a very MERRY CHRISTmas and PEACE on earth among men OF GOOD WILL . . .