Archive for December 2009

What is newsworthy?

December 31, 2009

Last Sunday, the 27th of December, was the last Sunday of 2009.  As is the case with many others, my thoughts turned to reflection on this past year.  There were many notable stories in the news throughout the year.  Some of them were inspiring, like the miraculous landing of an airliner in the Hudson River in New York.  Some were annoying, like the nearly constant partisan bickering by both sides in Congress.  Most stories, however, were notable for little more than being notable.  Sort of like many celebrities these days who are famous only for being famous, I suppose.

There are many stories out there that were not newsworthy, in the context of the mass media.  Even though largely overlooked, these stories are newsworthy in a Christian context.  Every time a hungry person was fed, that was newsworthy.  Every time a sad person was comforted, that was newsworthy.  Every time a homeless person was sheltered, that was newsworthy.  Every time one person showed kindness to another person, in any circumstance, that was newsworthy.  It does not even matter if it was a Christian person who showed the kindness, because God is at work in all things.

As Jesus said, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:  I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.”  (Matthew 25: 34-40, The Message.)

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It’s Called Christmas for a Reason

December 3, 2009

I had a nice experience at a local big box store last night.  I had stopped in to begin my Christmas shopping, and as I exited with my purchases, there was a young man standing next to a Salvation Army kettle, ringing a hand bell.  I put a five into the pot, and he said “Merry Christmas”.  I thanked him and wished him “Merry Christmas” as well.

Unfortunately, not everyone is allowed to say “Merry Christmas” these days.  Many stores and other public places actively prohibit employees from wishing anyone anything other than a bland “Happy Holidays”.  Now, I don’t hold that against the employees, as they have little choice if they want to keep their jobs.  I do, however, blame the employers, and those who would secularize the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior.  The former are intimidated into cowering compliance for fear of offending someone-but apparently offending Christians is OK.  The latter are those who don’t believe in God or Jesus Christ and want to force their non-belief upon everyone else.  If they don’t believe, I’m willing to pray for them, but I refuse to let them prohibit me from expressing my faith.

So, when someone wishes you a “Happy Holiday” in the coming days, respond kindly.  They may not even have a choice in the matter.  I suggest that you smile, and wish them God’s blessings and a “Merry Christmas”.  Amidst all the hustle and bustle, remember what Christmas is really about.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16.