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Thursday, December 24

Today’s Readings: Micah 6:6-8; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:46b-55

On this day before Christmas, it’s a great opportunity to stop and reflect what the coming of this Jesus means for all of us.

As I do that, I realize that I get a little nervous around this time each year because some folks use the holiday as a means of asserting their desire to be more aggressive in putting their faith out there. You hear, for instance, folks who are disturbed by the commercialization of the holiday saying it’s time to put the “Christ” back in Christmas. Others wage a personal campaign to get rid of interfaith-friendly public greetings like “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays” with “Merry Christmas”.

I’m never sure exactly what these folks are trying to accomplish. I guess they are longing for the good old days when folks who identified as Christian didn’t have to worry about acknowledging the existence of people of other faiths/no faith.

Whenever I hear folks go off on those topics, a part of me becomes sad and wonders, “Why aren’t people worried about living out the values that Jesus stood for rather than focusing on words?”

And what sort of values did Jesus stand for?

Well, today’s reading from the Hebrew Scriptures is one of the most succinct statements of those values: act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8 from The Message).

Imagine how different the word would be if people took the energy they used to demand that City Hall put up a nativity scene and instead used that energy into acting justly. Imagine what might happen if people stopped insisting retail clerks say “Merry Christmas” and instead insisted on acting mercifully with each other. Imagine how it would feel if people stopped insisting that Christmas carols be sung at public school concerts and started walking humbly with their God. It just might usher in the dawn of a new area when people paid less attention to talking ABOUT Jesus and more attention to acting LIKE Jesus.

As we head into our Christmas celebration, may we focus on doing what Jesus did: act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Til next time…

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