By Stanley Campbell
“War is as outmoded as cannibalism, chattel slavery, blood-feuds, and dueling, an insult to God and humanity… a daily crucifixion of Christ.”—Muriel Lester
“The little Baby Jesus don’t like killing, no matter what the reason for,” paraphrased from a John Prine song.
There’s a real war on Christmas, and those who purport to be Christ’s biggest defenders are leading it. Fox News and the right wing of the Republican Party want us to say “merry Christmas” instead of “happy holidays.” Meanwhile, they’ve led an attack on health care for the poor and shelter for the homeless, and they want us to go war against the Muslims and put everybody in jail.
Wolves in sheep’s clothing, that’s what they are. By righteously “defending” Christmas on such paltry charges, they rape and pillage Christ’s real message of love and forgiveness.
I will be preaching about this, and more, at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Rockton, Sunday, Dec. 20, starting at 10:30 a.m. (That’s right, every now and then I get invited to sermonize, and those Unitarians will let anyone into their pulpit).
Jesus spoke more about helping the poor than any other issue, except maybe love. He asked us to love one another. That is a simple request, but one that gets lost in the shuffle of God made Man, rich versus poor, taking out the Taliban and developing (versus raping) God’s green earth.
Because the earth goes around the sun, and is at an angle, we lose solar energy and get real cold during winter (while Australia’s enjoying summertime). Our ancestors saw the sun descend in the sky as Dec. 20, approached, and were amazed (and relieved) to see it begin to rise again. That’s the miracle of light returning to the world.
Almost every religion has a festival this time of year, and the Christians declared this time of returning light and sun the time they wish to celebrate the Light of the World, the Son of God taking the mantle of human form and visiting us as a little baby. Great story! One that has been usurped by a jolly merchant selling doodads and gewgaws made with Chinese child labor strapped to their workstations.
Or, is Santa the essence of Christmas, the spirit of giving that should inhabit this land of wealth and money? Giving stuff, especially to the poor, is what Jesus constantly tells us to do (you won’t hear that on television).
The act of giving is, in itself, a miracle. There’s a difference between shopping for one’s self and hunting for that perfect gift for a loved one. For some (including me), sharing what we have with others is hard. But often those with less usually give more. The richer, the stingier. Why?
Christmas is a time of giving, and I hope we can all find the spirit and resources to give to one’s heart’s content. And let’s remember those who need it the most—the destitute, the homeless, the oppressed. If we can’t give directly, then give through favorite charities.
Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.
From the Dec. 9-15, 2009 issue