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Contrasting Christmases!

This year is a little strange, as I sit here in silence. For many, it is a time for waking up before the kids, putting together larger toys too big to wrap, rolling bikes from the basement to the base of the tree. I remember that!

For others, the stunning absence of a loved one, or in Gaza, missing last year's town of habitation, the memories, famiky pictures stored in frames on modest walls, all belongings now under rubble, gone, destroyed by a war beyond their control. Yes, even in Bethlehem an eerie silence, we're told!

Jesus is the reason for the Season, though not so for everyone.

For those of us blessed with children, even grandchildren (ours will arrive tomorrow) it has great meaning, with memories still awaiting in the next few hours. I plan to erect a seesaw for the kids, once the sun warms us up a little.

For many, all this is based solely upon the joy of tradition, moreso than the reality of a Christ within. Many will celebrate Christmas (Xmas) with only a tired awareness of time off from work, far short of the promIse of eternal life or the possibility of a meaningful life here, "life more abundant."

Yesterday, I sat in probably the most well-planned Christmas Eve service of my life, among people who truly understand the Good News of grace. The music, the message, shared participation, all amazing and a first ever performed dramatic reading of a poem based upon Eve, apple clutched in hand, head down in shame, meeting Mary for the first time, she with hands outstretched, womb swollen with the Promised One! What an inspiring thought.

For centuries, humans have told the story of God, even of gods who would bring promise to humanity. Some debated vigorously, then with power brokers demanding exile, if not execution, when one dares mirror the other. Humans desire hope, but often only on their own terms!

Until this year, I had never heard the debate over the story of Nana, the Roman goddess, a virgin who birthed, Attis, on December 25. You can imagine the problem that became for early Christians, and as mentioned in yesterday's blog especially for Constantine as he, a politician, struggled to keep the peace.

As I read this Roman twist, my mind went to the strange story hidden somewhat in Revelation 12. The story of a warfare that began in the garden, be that real or metaphor. A serpent, a dragon or fallen angel, constant in the intent to steal the story, and bruise the heel of those who dare share that story as a redemptive reality!

"A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days."

There is so much we don't know about Christmas, the Christ and the warfare that occurred somewhere in the galaxies, before the "Big Bang!"

This day is quite different for me than any other holiday, though I did help with wrapping the gifts for the grands!

Peace on Earth is only the edge of this mystery!

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