Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas 2011 Lessons from the Manger




May the peace of Christ reign in our hearts.

OK I admit it in 8th grade I was smitten with Susan Asbell.

Susan if you somehow left Buffalo and are here in Connecticut. I’m sorry to embarrass you.

Yes I was smitten by her
completely smitten
and I did everything I could to simply to be close to her.

She was my first love...and it was wonderful.

You know the Manger scene teaches us so much.
about God and so much about ourselves.

We learn for example that we are indeed God’s first love.

We learn that God is smitten with us,
so smitten in fact that he couldn’t stay away.

The birth of Jesus shows us just how far God
the all powerful creator of the universe
will go to be near to us…

Bethlehem teaches us that God is close.
God is always close.

God could have come into the world in any manner He wished.
He could have come as a mighty King,
He could have just appeared on a cloud,
He could have announced his coming with claps of thunder and flashes of lightning,
but instead He chose to humble Himself and be born to a poor couple in a manger,
surrounded by animals, shepherds and kings.

You see the manger proves that God’s ultimate goal is simply to be loved by us.

Fear and force can rarely open a human heart.

Humble love,
gentle humble love almost always does.

God so desires a place in our hearts that
He came among us in the most humble and simply of ways.

By being born in a manger...
God teaches us that it is ok to have less.

By being born in a manger God tries to teach us that
the materialism and consumerism that drives our economy
and pushes us to seek more more better better newer newer
should not be where we place our hope.

In the long run the things we have are just not that important
if we all understood that lesson from the manger
We would be happier and holier.

And from the Christmas story we learn an important lesson from Mary and Joseph.

Mary and Joseph stood by each other and loved each other and supported each other even though they were in desperate straights.

In our current economy when so many marriages and so many families are strained because of material things
this is an important lesson indeed.

And when Jesus was born in the manger
tradition has it that there came
Simple shepherds from the fields
and distant kings from the east.

They all came to pay him homage and they were all welcomed at the Manger.

The presence of the shepherds and Kings teaches us that God’s message
and God’s love is for everyone,

the rich and the poor,
the noble and the less than noble,
the healthy and strong,
those sick and weak,
good or bad,
addicted or not addicted,
legal or illegal,
no matter what race,
no matter what faith,
no matter what country.
God even loves the people who drive us crazy.
All are welcome at the Manger
and all  have a place in God’s heart.

And so holy ones,
No matter what the new year may bring.

May we learn these simple lessons of the Manger well.
Let us never forget that God is close to us.
Let us walk humbly and be gentle with each other.
Let us try to live simply
Let us stand by those we love no matter what challenge comes our way.

Finally, let us share a genuine concern for everyone no matter who they are or
where they come from
or what they have
or have not done.

The Gospel tells us that on that beautiful night in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago.

All of creation  was so moved by the humble love of God that  “suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly hosts with the angel, praising God and singing:

"Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to people of good will."

May that same song spring from our hearts as we contemplate the beauty of the Manger

Thank you God for loving us so much !!!

Good people of St. Paul Church

May you have most blessed and Merry Christmas.


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