Monday, December 24, 2012

A Time Of Renewal

Long before Christianity came along, midwinter festivals celebrating the winter solstice were popular. Pagan societies often thought they had to make a plea to the gods at this time of year so the gods would make spring come again. The Druids of Britain - and others - made gruesome human sacrifices to guarantee a fruitful harvest to come.

Christ became a living sacrifice for us, once and for all, removing the urge and need for a death ritual of appeasement to God. Yet the death ritual endures. Human hearts will have dark wickedness in them until the Last Day of Judgment. Yet, we are forgiven if we only ask for forgiveness. We start with our families,  making amends with them, and movimg outward. This is the meaning of Christmas.

God comes to - and through - those who are among the least of us in society. Mary and Joseph were poor. The King of Kings came for those in need. Rejoice if you are hurting and in poverty. Rejoice if you have been rejected by the world and human society.

Death is not an end, but a beginning. Rebirth and new life comes to those who die.

Conversely, take heed and be careful if you are rich and content. Give to those who are in need. Your abundance can be a trap if it makes you think you are superior to others, and you got where you are by your efforts alone.

We are alone, and there is no collective salvation. You came into this world naked and will leave it naked. Be ready to face your Creator and account for your deeds. A wonderful reward is yours if you've acted honorably.

Watch A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. Or read his book. The pure and joyful message of Christmas never has been better told.

Have a very Merry Christmas, Chanukah, or other winter festival of renewal!