Friday, December 27, 2013

Winter Gray

Winter is setting in around here and the grass is brown, flowers are gone snow and ice have cover the ground then melted. Almost everything wears out, grows old or fades. Including me! Every year it is almost like some one has pulled a plug and over night the color is gone. Winter gray has arrived even affecting peoples moods.

As I think about these things I am reminded of our recent Christmas celebrating that added lights and laughter to all our lives. It was a reminder of the birth of Jesus the Christ and all the blessings of God's love for all of us. The Gospel is always new and reliable good news that Gold loves us so muck that even if a bleak winter enters our souls spring will come and restore good cheer and great joy.

My life goes through the seasons year after year and I have weathered each of them with the simple grace that God is with me every step of the way. My faith in God never weathers or fades and is bright as the fresh and lovely first blooms of spring flowers.

As 2013 fades into memory and 2014 beams with promise on the horizon I know that God will walk with me through all of the future.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

After Christmas THoughts

Christmas has come and gone.

Where do we get our information about the first Christmas? It comes first from the Gospels and we built tradations on all that information.

The Gospel According to Mark ignores it all together. That Gospel starts with the Baptism. Even if Mark was all of the Gospel I had I could be a Christian.

The Gospel According to Matthew has an angel visiting Joseph to inform him what he must do. Joseph is apparently living in Bethlehem. He is told that the child shall be called “Emmanuel” but he names the boy Jesus. After that the “wise men” from the East show up to honor the new king of the Jews. Joseph is warned in a dream to flee to Egypt. King Herod has boys under the age of two in Bethlehem killed. After Herod’s death Joseph moves to Nazareth.

The Gospel According to Luke starts with the story of the birth of John the Baptist who is apparently a relative of Jesus. Here in Luke the angel comes to Mary to announce the startling news that she will conceive with out the help of a male and bear a son. She goes to visit her relative Elizabeth for three months. In Luke Mary and Joseph live in Nazareth and go to Bethlehem to register for a Roman tax. That was a rough trip for a pregnant woman. Luke has humble shepherds’ come to visit Jesus. They take Jesus to the temple where to prophets Simon and Anna proclaim him the one. After all that the family returns to Nazareth with no detours.

In the Gospel According to John what we have of the Christmas story is all from the point of view of heaven “The Word” became flesh and dwelt among us. John is all about God’s side of the story.

Since the first century Christians have combined Matthew and Luke birth narratives and added many human traditions about the story that are not in the bible text. Just where did that drummer boy come from?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Muslim Christmas Greeting

This Message appeared in today's Louisville Newspaper I am delighted to share it with you.

‘I am overjoyed at the sights and sounds of Christmas’
The Christmas season is now simply referred to as the holiday season. It has become taboo to wish a Christian friend, co-worker, business associate, or a client, a Merry Christmas. The rationalization behind this transformation is that the word Christmas may be “offensive” to non-Christians. I am not quite sure how this trend started. Was it requested or demanded by the easily offended, or was it an unsolicited act of giving and accommodating, for which Christianity and its followers are famous? Whatever the reason, as a Muslim, I want to make it clear to Christians of this great country and the world that I am not, at all, offended by the word Christmas.

Far from being offended, I am overjoyed at the sounds and sights of Christmas. How can a festival that is important to 2 billion people of the world be offensive to anyone with even a semblance of sanity or an iota of fairness? Contrarily, I am offended when someone thinks that I may be offended by hearing the sounds of Christmas or encountering a Christmas tree. I am quite sure that many Muslims, Hindus, Jews and other non-Christians share my feeling.

It is unfair, inhuman, discriminatory and un-American to ask or expect Christians to refer to Christmas, a time of great emotional, religious and cultural significance in Christianity, by a wrong name. Even if this change of nomenclature was initiated by Christians themselves as an act of graciousness, it is the moral duty of non-Christians to insist that this change should be reversed.

Would Muslims want the beautiful connotation of Eid Mubarak replaced? Would Hindus want the majesty of Happy Diwali substituted? Would Jews want the glory of Happy Hanukkah made irrelevant? I hope not. Human equality should not and must not create the need to dilute the heartwarming glows of the diversity of various cultural and religious festivals.

Every fair society ensures, as America has, that the “tyranny of the majority” does not exist among its midst, but the dissolution of this “tyranny” must not engender the tyranny of the minorities.

To my Christian brothers and sisters, I say: I wish you a Merry Christmas; I hope that you enjoy your beautiful Christmas trees, in this season of love, joy and sharing. By the way, Merry Christmas to me too.


Louisville 40245

Sunday, December 22, 2013

About all those GIFTS

I want to call your attention to a part of Christmas that adults often overlook. And this aspect of the holidays is just as important and beneficial as giving. I want you to take a moment to think about…receiving gifts. That may sound strange to think about “getting” instead of giving during Christmas.

Yet during these next few days you’ll be receiving so much. You’ll be given gifts, well-wishes, greetings, party ivitations, hugs, smiles, cookies, decorations, etc. The list goes on and on – whether you have small children in your life or not. In fact, you’ll undoubtedly be getting these things whether you actively celebrate Christmas not!

How you receive a gift of any kind reflects how you feel about yourself and about your worth as a human being. Enjoying a gift, relishing in the thoughtfulness and love inherent in its presentation, lets you know that you find yourself deserving of such things. It also honors and exalts the giver; don’t you love it when someone truly enjoys one of your gifts?

So this Christmas don’t play “humble” when you’re given one of the multitudes of gifts you’ll receive. Instead thank the abundant love and generosity of both the gift giver and the love of God in the greatest gift of all.