Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Here are three new blogs from the Lion of the Left:

It is that time of year to write a Christmas message.  Despite a campaign of commercialism and crass merchandizing, which has turned the smart phone and the flat screen TV into holiday symbols, this is still, at it's core, a celebration of the birth of a Jewish baby who replaced a dark world filled with despair and angst with one filled with hope and light.

     We all too familiar with darkness, despair and fear.  We encounter these on a daily basis as we struggle to cope with all life throws our way.  Some of us are alone while others fight with the family they have.  Some of us are separated from family due to our own stupidity and choices.  Each day carries with it fears of what tomorrow will hold.  Will we still have a job?  Will our children be healthy and happy?  Can our marriage last or can we find someone to share our future with?  Only those with their heads buried deep in the sand can avoid the implications of climate change and how it will affect our weather and environment.  (think of Sandy or the drought which plagues huge regions of this nation)  It is so easy to give in and give up...to embrace the culture which says whoever dies with the most stuff wins...to be overwhelmed with sadness at this time of year because reality does not match the ideal which has been laid out for us over the years.  My message this year is don't give up...the birth of the child is the answer...hope is alive and well.

     Ask any parent their wish for their children and you will consistently hear about how we want them to be happy and to have a full life.  Parents aren't naive enough to believe their children won't face sadness and disappointment and fear, but they hope their children will know how loved they are, how lovingly they were created and how we are there if they need us.  We try to be role models and to show them how to make good choices and to persevere when things don't go their way.  (then there are some of us who make poor choices and don't love them enough and who disappoint them and go away....yet they continue to love us)  Why would God be any different?

     God created us out of love and a desire to know us and feel that love returned.  This is not the classic image of God pushed by fundamentalists.  This is not the all-powerful, all knowing, all present God of traditional orthodoxy.  (that God doesn't need anything, including creation)  God created us to be in relation with us...to talk with us and to listen to us...to have us talk to Her in return and listen to Her.  In the gospel of John, the Jesus born on Christmas gives us His ultimate insight into God.  We were created to have life and life to its fullest.  Christmas is the celebration of the hope we will all discover and the experience of a full life.

     Celebrating Christmas is a faith statement.  We can't prove this is the purpose of life, but we have faith that it's true.  The birth of Jesus is a celebration of the person who finally understood the reason for creation.  He proclaimed the good news that life is full of hope and joy and those living in the darkness will see great light.  He lived a life so intimate with God He saw what God wanted for us...to be filled with joy...not be afraid...treat others like we wish to be treated...forgive even our enemies and be forgiven in return and the result would be the gift of a full life.  Because of the birth of this carpenter's son in Bethlehem, God was finally able to share all Her love and thoughts and dreams with Her creation and because of this experience, She offers the same thing to everyone of us because of the humanity we share with Her Son.

     MERRY CHRISTMAS!!  It is a celebration of a holy night when Christ was born.  Even the name proclaimed on this day tells us what this is all about...Emmanuel...God with us.  We are not alone.  We don't go through this by ourselves.  This is the fifth Christmas I celebrate separated from you and my family.  It would be easy to slip into a funk and let the darkness surround me.  How can I celebrate in a place like this?  What about all the pain and embarrassment I have caused?  Yet, on Christmas, I will celebrate how loved I am and how many people care for me and the gift of life I was given.  I will fight being afraid of the future depending on the promise if I live the best life I can my life will be full.

     Perhaps you could spend a few minutes on Christmas imagining what a full life would look like.  (hint: it doesn't involve a flat screen TV)  If you have lost someone, or are separated from those you love, this is a day to know you are not alone.  The birth of Jesus brought light to an otherwise dark world and brought hope to all of us.

     I miss you all and hope for the day when I can join you and my family in celebration of the hope and joy this day represents.

     To paraphrase St. Francis.....

          God, on this Christmas day bring light to those in darkness and help those in despair to have hope.  Help us to appreciate family and friends who love and care for us.  Thank you for the gift of your Son, and for the good news His life proclaimed.  On this day, we join with the angels and shepherds to sing of your glory and revel in the knowledge we never have to be afraid.  May we understand and experience life, and life to its fullest, knowing the world is alive with the grandeur of God.


  1. Thank you, Bernie. We carry on, by grace. Thinking of you.

  2. I apologize, but here's a "bah,hamburg" statement: Xmas is pagan idolatry, as Jesus was not born in December, as Israel is rainy and without clear skies during that time. He was likely born in the Summer.

    The Xmas season is actually the Saturnalia festival, and the rest of it (Santa Claus, Xmas trees, mistletoe etc.) is Norse/Viking paganism mixed on top of its Greco-Roman counterpart.

  3. Thank you Bernie for your Christmas Prayer. I will be saying it to my family, and daughter-in-law, humbug, on Christmas day. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    Peace be with you and God Bless.

  4. Hey, Bernie...thanks for the uplifting thoughts. It's a little hard to remain optimistic these days, but your encouragement helps. I hope your Christmas was peaceful and wish you health and serenity in 2013. We look forward to hearing you again.