Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Prince of Peace

Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of councel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord....

And the wolf will dwell with the Lamb,
And the leopard will lie down with the young goat,
And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together,
And a little child will lead them...

They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord.

from Isaiah 11

I am convinced that if all came to truly know the Prince of Peace, there would be peace on earth. If we learned to honor His teachings; to love our neighbors and our enemies, to do good and never evil to those whose lives we touch, then could we sleep in heavenly peace at this time of the year and all other times, as well.

This year, I continue to pray for Peace. Peace in the world of chaos and violence. Peace in our country, in our towns and our neighborhoods. Peace in our homes and families. And the Peace that passes our understanding to reign in all our hearts.

Merry Christmas. Thanks be to God for sending to earth the Prince of Peace.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ho, ho, Holy giving....

Nicholas of Myra, who inspired our own tradition of Santa Claus, once learned of a family that was going to sell their three daughters into slavery to keep from starving. Stealthily, he took three bags of gold and threw them through the family's window to pay the ransom for the girls' freedom. This, and other secret gifts he gave the poor, are the basis for the gift-giving we do at this time each year. However, though there are still 1.2 million children trafficked each year in the global sex trade, we often choose to gift those who are in need of very little.

Look around you as you shop this season. Can you help any of those who could truly use your help? Even if you just make a secret pledge between yourself and God to not pass by a red bucket without putting something in it so your wealth can be put to work for others, that would be more in keeping with the true intent of the season than the shopping and giving we usually do. There are many places you can gift that will be of service to those in need if you are not comfortable gifting the needy directly. Let us be inspired by those who give Love for the right reasons this season, by those such as the original Nicolas, who gave because they love the true Giver. The man we see in the fake beard and the red suit is, after all, a very poor imitation of what the season and celebration is truly about.

"There is no improving the future without disturbing the present."
Catherine Booth, co-founder of the Salvation Army