We offer our thanks today for the gift of a story of a baby born in Bethlehem whose own offering of grace and love has sustained us for centuries and given us hope and strength to overcome murderous dictators and those who have brokered power through violence.
We give thanks for our own free press and reporters like Nicholas Kristof who recently forced us to look see the image of Abrar Ibrahim whose starvation in Yemen at the hands of powerful men, able to give her the needs of life but use her instead as a pawn in struggles for power. The image of a 12 year old girl who weighs 28 pounds on a planet of plenty gives us no room for excusing ourselves. And, in her misery, she represents millions of suffering children and adults.
Christmas in America is a time in which we celebrate giving, the closeness of family, and our national abundance, all wrapped in the glorious gift of the child Jesus whose life was given in the confrontation with Rome when he demanded for all people the justice that would nurture children like Abrar.
Give us to celebrate our abundance with a determination to do our best to make that abundance available to all the people of the Earth. If it requires education; then we will make the gift of education. If it requires that we cure them; then we will make a gift of the science of medicine. If it requires that we feed them; then we will make the gift of agriculture and crops. And if it requires that we share; we will do so gladly for your sake and the sake of all mankind. If it requires that we consume less to keep our air, water and climate suitable for a home for humanity, then we must if we are to live as Christians.
So at Christmas we pray for Abrar and the children of Yemen; for the children at our border begging asylum; for peace and grace in a world at war and competing for the power to control the wealth of the world — your gifts of creation that justly belongs to all mankind.
And we give thanks for the love of family and home. Our traditions keep us in touch with that simplest love that we express daily in our care for one another and, in remembrance of Jesus’ birth, through the singing of carols, giving of gifts, and simply spending time together.
When we do all these things, we can offer a merry Christmas to all. Oh Lord of all that is, once again, let there be light.