Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
I am always honored to write a piece for the Christmas/Holiday edition. It permits me the opportunity to reflect upon the season, the year, my blessings, and the condition of my soul.
As a pastor, I know that this is season is full of so many meaningful truths, symbols, and promises. Christians all over the world are celebrating the arrival of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and the gift of salvation. The condition of the area in which he was born was wrought with issues: poverty, Roman military occupation, religious insurrections, racism, classism, and nationalism. Yet, in what seemed like such an inopportune time, God graced our world with His promise to heal, restore, and empower.
I approach this season with a great sense of responsibility. If God’s plan was to heal and restore and empower through His Son, then I still have lots of work to do. I can’t become tired of the work of social justice, reconciliation, and affirming the dignity of all people. I don’t want to merely preach the message of hope to our hurting world...I want to embody that message.
The symbolisms of Jesus’ birth are blaring. The disenfranchised shepherds were seated in the VIP section and witnessed the Christ child before the religious leaders did or the rest of the planet. In God’s economy, the last still become first, whether we believe it or not, or like it or not. Jesus was an enemy of the state, a refugee whose family fled to Africa, and his family was among the working poor. The symbols remind us that the “least” among us might actually be the ones with the antidote for our pain. We can’t afford to marginalize anyone. We must care for the hurting and displaced children everywhere.
The promise of this season is that we are not alone. The arrival of God’s son was not necessarily a welcomed one; yet it happened anyway. The promise is that God will not hide just because conditions are bad and neither must His followers. This wonderful season is more than a call to shop and eat. The season offers each of us the chance to assess ourselves, realocate our resources and engage our needy communities in such a way that we give of ourselves so as to make our world a more wonderful place. This is what God did and His adherents must be willing to do the same.
‘Tis the season to be caring and faithful!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!
Rev. Dr. Alexander Gee, Jr. is the founding pastor of Fountain of Life Church and president of the Nehemiah Center For Urban Leadership. For more information, visit www.folmadison.org or www.Nehemiah.org
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