A wonderful time of year
Monsieur d’Nalgar: Mr. Lindholm informed me of several corrections that are now reflected herein. These corrections were made via social media after the letter was published in the Sentinel Record… The comments that follow were also harvested from social media. Vendredi 22 décembre 2017 à l’ère commune. Joyeux Noël à tous!
It’s a wonderful time of the year.
The world is captivated by the story of the birth of Jesus. It is a story about a baby born in a feeding-box. He did not come in royal splendor as a king. He was born to an olive-skinned, Middle Eastern man and woman. His mother, pregnant and unwed and looked upon as property, delivered her son into a world that would undeniably see him as an illegitimate child born wrapped in rags and placed in a smelly feeding trough in a dark foul-smelling barn. A young mother giving birth to a son that later, as an adult, people believed to be of the Son of God.
I find wonderful meaning in the imagery of the Christmas story. This is a legend about something that happened in a time that was cruel and ruthless with an authoritarian social order and culture. One where men executed unlimited control and domination. They abused their power and authority. It’s a story authors wrote many years after Jesus died. They really believed this man had a genuine connection to God like no one ever before or after, a story about a liberator coming to set his people free, a story about the birth of a kingly prince who, in fact, is the Prince of Peace.
We are told singing angels appeared out of nowhere. A new bright star illumined the babe in the manger. Shepherds came and observed. Wise men seeing the brilliant star traveled a great distance to see what was happening. They brought gifts and honored the newborn child. Today, more than 2,000 years later, the birth of Jesus of Nazareth is worshipped and celebrated all over the world.
What happened that day? I believe this is what the beginning of liberation for the broken and oppressed, the marginalized, poor, needy and sick looks like. It doesn’t come from those who hold power and authority, it comes from ordinary people, the followers who think and believe like Jesus.
Christianity’s most quoted Bible verse, John 3:16, was translated from
Arabic Aramaic to Greek to English. The English “American Standard Version” reads — “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes ‘in‘ Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” The Arabic Aramaic translated directly to English reads “whosoever believeth ‘like‘ Jesus shall not perish but have everlasting life.” It is not until we begin to live and believe ‘like‘ Jesus that we are ready to follow and walk in the footsteps of Jesus, serving, healing, feeding, sheltering, clothing, respecting and always loving everybody always.
Believing in Jesus is a choice. Believing like Jesus is a gift from God. It is then that our sacred journey begins experiencing eternal life in the here and now.
This letter was in yesterday’s Sentinel Record. George Lindholm is a friend of mine, both on social media and as an occasional acquaintance at too-rare gatherings of progressive letter writers (also too rare here in the hinterland). Friendship aside, this is one of his best letters yet! The photograph was taken just now, of a manger scene made many years ago in a small village in occupied Palestine. Seems like not much has changed in 2000 years…
— Monsieur d’Nalgar, Jeudi 21 décembre 2017 à l’ère commune