It is once again the Christmas season—or Advent, to be accurate at the moment—and although I have avoided posting to this blog for some time now I would really love to write something relevant. But my inner voice asks: Relevant to whom?
—Those for whom the pressing problem of the season is a warm place to sleep, and some food to quiet an empty stomach? They are certainly one of the reasons for the arrival of this Baby in a Manger.
—The ever-increasing number of elderly orphans, especially those who lack financial resources for life necessities and medications, and who will be alone at Christmas? Yes, of course.
—Refugees all over the world who have been driven from their homes, and separated from loved ones, because of hate, discrimination and war? Definitely.
—Those who have been marginalized and discriminated against by institutionalized bigotry, white privilege, and the insidious lie of “color-blindness” until their frustration is at the breaking point? These, as well.
Unfortunately, I could go on and on. The list of ways in which humans deny or ignore the image of their Creator in each other is endless, sometimes almost evilly ingenious.
Perhaps, then, I could attempt to put a Christmas face on the debacle of our political system and the present electoral campaign? Frankly, this is much more difficult for me. I find it much easier to feel the Christmas spirit for those neglected and in need than for those who contribute on a daily basis to that sad situation.
Of course, as a social scientist I could write pages enumerating the evils of the system, with empirical evidence and professional objectivity. But this is not a professional research paper, and in truth I am far from objective about this subject. In fact, I am disillusioned, angry, humiliated, and absolutely broken-hearted that my country has become this spectacle of greed, ignorance, sociopathology, hatred, bigotry and downright evil.
That, of course, is primarily those who wish to be elected to public office, and whose desperate antics I have the misfortune to see every time I turn on my TV or my computer. But in the Real World, the vast majority of Americans are still the good, honest, hardworking and caring people that the average American has always been. Including—perhaps even more so—the average immigrants, present and past. Our ancestors. Those good people upon whose backs this country was built. (Ahh-did I hear the National Anthem playing somewhere?)
There, I have it. My Christmas spirit can be renewed in the lives and faces of my friends and neighbors, my colleagues and my students, my family near and far…..these, who continue to embody real Christian values and possess the humanity to live by them. These who still have empathy for the sick and unfortunate, and will do their part to help them even when they can least afford it. Who recognize the poor and helpless as brother and sister human beings, for whom this season brings to mind the fact that we worship a God who sent us a King in a manger, to remind us of what true leadership is all about, and to provide us with an example of what every Christian should aspire to in this world. Whose Son refused to sell his soul to the devil for power and wealth.
Yep. That is definitely the sound of angels that I hear.
Merry Christmas, everyone. Christ still lives and reigns within us. Alleluia!