Friday, December 23, 2011

It’s Christmas: once more wise – persons - consider where the bringer of our salvation is to be found

Mundraub. It was Annelie’s contribution to an on-going conversation ever since we were on our cruise. The discussion has revolved around the mansioned rich on the island hills and the poor in the markets. Being literally in the middle isn’t all that comfortable either, if you are wondering.

That particular German word came up as a remembrance of the war years “back then.” If a person stole because he or she were in dire hunger it is not a violation of the law; for Germans, this is much like English “common law.” She added to our talk the remembrance of that Sabbath when Jesus’ hungry disciples took grain from a field to eat as they were walking. The religious leaders were outraged. Not Jesus. He knew “hungry” not as a word in a biblical dictionary.

My own thoughts turned to the time when I was in graduate school in Berkley. It was the time of the “hippie.” They wore no shoes; their feet were dirty. They just did not smell like being poor. I know poor when I – well, every one who has been a rural pastor has been in situations… Most of those I saw in California were fashionable in their poverty; they romanticized it. Maybe you remember, too; it was right before the decade of the “Me” generation of the 80’s smiled its way in. Money was chic again.  

It is so instructive to go into a younger women’s store. Coming into the section with jeans there will be a display of what’s in style: nothing like sporting holes on your knees to prove you are of the “in” crowd. Have you ever wondered how that fits into the protest about paying more taxes? Those worn out looking jeans don’t come free, you know… At least rags are not a fashion statement on Christmas Eve.

It was not so on that Eve when some blue collared fellows got some one to take their security shift at the sheep fold so they could go into Bethlehem. It would not be so either with those wealthy men jolting down the hill on their camels, bringing gifts to a child they had sensed from afar was full of promise.

Annelie and I once had our chance to go to Bethlehem, too. We didn’t take it. The locals were throwing rocks that day; someone might think a few casualties were a small price to keeping the lid on for another day. Poverty was the topic and nobody was posing.

I don’t know about “peace on earth” as a reality; I would settle for just a little more sanity, wouldn’t you?

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