Tuesday, December 23, 2008
God Chose a Way to Change the World - Mann
I’ve been trying, across this Advent/Christmas season, to get a hook into a plot for a Christmas play that everybody can enjoy. Christian friends tell me “this effort might end up falling short of satisfying Christ-followers or be too religious for others.”
Yet, I believe that one of the central messages of Christmas is to give the invitation to reconcile. We often see this reconciliation as visible ways of reaching out to others. The Salvation Army leads the way in the malls, while other churches and community groups fall in step with community foodbank committees, Mitten Trees and free Christmas dinners. People in general, passionately extend an extra visit, card, Poinsettias or chocolates. I see men, women and children working shoulder-to-shoulder and walking side-by-side, without checking out faith credentials, changing their little corner of the world.
I read this caption on Internet a while back, “There are tons of ways you can change the world. Just pick one!” and I asked myself if I had. Surely, at this time of year, we are so aware of the particular way that God chose to change the world. We can continue with the work of Jesus and learn how he changed the world with tons of ways. Christmas is a powerful season and it touches people and initiates enough compassion to change the world even for a short time through actions and attitudes on the street, at the desk or at the local arena. And that short time might save someone’s life, give another hope or plant a seed of confidence. Family members who resist sitting beside someone who’s hurt them in the past now find an excuse to fill the empty chair. Friends, who haven’t connected since last year’s Christmas card pick up the phone and call. People with a hate-on find ways to put a love-on. Forgiveness filters through a hardened heart. Reconciliation reigns. Anger dissolves. And peace pierces depression, pain and grief.
“The Christmas Truce” comes to my mind every Christmas season. We know that four months after WWI had begun, English Christmas carols and “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht” were sung from opposing trenches in Flanders as the troops witnessed the power of reconciliation on Christmas Eve. In essence, the war had ceased for a short time as men met between the lines to exchange greetings, cigarettes and cookies. They buried their dead and recited “The 23rd Psalm.”
Christ came to earth to reconcile people to God and one another. God certainly picked a significant way to change the world on that Christmas Eve in 1914 if only in people’s hearts for that short time. For God so loved the word that he gave . . . .
Well, maybe that plot for the Christmas play has begun. Thanks be to God!
Take Time to Make Memories (1996)
Aggie’s Storms (2007)
Numerous plays, columns and articles
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