Monday, December 13, 2010

Light and Darkness - The Lion"s 2010 Christmas Message

You are at home with your family and the power goes out plunging the house into darkness. Confusion, and concern are quickly present. You wonder what happened. You call out for others in the house. You scramble to find some source of light. (And if you are like most of us, the batteries in your flashlights are dead; you can’t find the emergency light and with the darkness comes fear.) Even if all you accomplish is one lit candle, the light it provides makes the situation less frightening and gives hope other sources of light can be found. The darkness has been defeated.

Once you have some light, you break out the radio. Once again, there is fear and a sense of dread. As you listen to the news, and as the news is broadcast, your sense of unease and your fears are reduced. Information brings some level of comfort and perhaps action. Light enables you to muster resources and huddle together, and when the power comes back on, there is a great sense of relief. It is no accident the symbols of Christmas are light and new information... "Good News".

God created each of us as an act of love. God wished to know us and have us know Her. God reached out and revealed who She is. She is loving and open, forgiving and hopeful, compassionate and faithful. We were invited to love back, forgive, and spread compassion and hope and to draw as close to God as we desire. In fits and starts, we would take a step forward only to backslide into our own egos, our own needs, and ignore God. Despite God's best efforts, no one seemed to fully grasp what was offered. We lived in a dark world searching for light. We prayed for guidance. We asked God for help, for a sign, for a way to find meaning and hope in a dark world. We were afraid of the dark and looking for news of God's presence. We huddled together wishing for answers.

The Christmas story, the amalgamation of Matthew and Luke's infancy narratives, is about light conquering darkness and hope defeating fear. The light of the star, the power of angelic voices, the searching by magicians all culminate in a manger in Bethlehem and the message goes forth..."Good News (gospel) of great joy for all people. A savior has been born who is Messiah and Lord." What's so good about this news? How does it bring light and what does it mean for us?

Matthew says this child, Jesus, will be called Emmanuel. It means " Him, God is with us." With the birth of Jesus, one human being finally gets it. He is the candle, the emerging light. He has news and something to tell us about how to end darkness and that everything is going to be alright. We don't have to be afraid any more. For the first time, God will love and be loved totally and completely in return. Jesus will choose to live His life as fully human as possible and draw so close to God as to describe it like being Father and Son. Because of Jesus, God will now offer Her grace to us fully and completely. Our fear about life and death is ended. Our worry about our purpose and goal in life is over. It will never be dark again.

Christmas is the celebration of one person, Jesus, who accepts and returns God's love so deeply, God now is able to offer the same opportunity to all of us. God is intimately involved in the world through Jesus' humanity, and now knows the joy of having that creative love returned. With the birth of Jesus, we are out of the darkness which despair and loneliness cause. We heard the "Good News". The result is the dawn of a new era, peace on earth and goodwill for all people.

I hope you will surround yourself with light on this Christmas...candles and lamps, brightly illuminated nativity scenes and stars on the tops of well as the love of family and friends. The "Good News" is the true light has come and with him a full life is available to you and a loving God awaits. Not a bad reason to celebrate. Merry Christmas to you all.


  1. and a merry Christmas to you from your friend in Iowa. each of us has the ability to be a candle to someone if we chose. though we may flicker and have moments of darkening the ability to let someone know they are accepted unconditionally is doing the work of Jesus. I pray today i make someone have a bit better day. I admire the Jewish concept of "Kishmas(?)...a thousand acts of kindness for atonement, that's doing three nice things a day. It may be holding a door, letting some in in traffic or any of a host of the small things that make this human experience.

  2. Merry Christmas from Colorado, Bernie.

  3. Blessings and good will to you and your family Bernie.

  4. Merry Xmas - from Santa Barbara

  5. Bernie and Friends,

    2011: A Brave New Dystopia
    Monday 27 December 2010
    by: Chris Hedges | Truthdig

    The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right. Would we be, as Orwell wrote, dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control? Or would we be, as Huxley envisioned, entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression? It turns out Orwell and Huxley were both right. Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement. Orwell saw the second.

    for the deleted part go to:

    The cruder forms of torture of the Gestapo have been replaced with refined Orwellian techniques, largely developed by government psychologists, to turn dissidents like Manning into vegetables. We break souls as well as bodies. It is more effective.
    The techniques have psychologically maimed thousands of detainees in our black sites around the globe. They are the staple form of control in our maximum security prisons where the corporate state makes war on our most politically astute underclass—African-Americans. It all presages the shift from Huxley to Orwell.


    The noose is tightening. The era of amusement is being replaced by the era of repression. Tens of millions of citizens have had their e-mails and phone records turned over to the government. We are the most monitored and spied-on citizenry in human history. Many of us have our daily routine caught on dozens of security cameras. Our proclivities and habits are recorded on the Internet. Our profiles are electronically generated. Our bodies are patted down at airports and filmed by scanners. And public service announcements, car inspection stickers, and public transportation posters constantly urge us to report suspicious activity. The enemy is everywhere.

    Those who do not comply with the dictates of the war on terror, a war which, as Orwell noted, is endless, are brutally silenced. The draconian security measures used to cripple protests at the G-20 gatherings in Pittsburgh and Toronto were wildly disproportionate for the level of street activity. But they sent a clear message—DO NOT TRY THIS. The FBI’s targeting of antiwar and Palestinian activists, which in late September saw agents raid homes in Minneapolis and Chicago, is a harbinger of what is to come for all who dare defy the state’s official Newspeak. The agents—our Thought Police—seized phones, computers, documents and other personal belongings. Subpoenas to appear before a grand jury have since been served on 26 people. The subpoenas cite federal law prohibiting “providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations.” Terror, even for those who have nothing to do with terror, becomes the blunt instrument used by Big Brother to protect us from ourselves.

    “Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?” Orwell wrote. “It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself.”

    Chris Hedges is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. His newest book is “Death of the Liberal Class.”

    All republished content that appears on Truthout has been obtained by permission or license.