At a time when this nation debates whether to say “merry christmas” or happy holidays,” banners are already up in China with the words, “Merry Christmas.” And Marshal, our Chinese student, tells us that in Mandarin, Christmas is translated as “holy birth festival.” So, China, a nation that does not particular support religion. is willing to use the word Christmas with its religious meaning. Interesting to say the least.
Regardless of one’s religious or non religious beliefs/inclinations, celebrating the birth of Christ does give us the opportunity to consider our lives anew. God came to earth clothed in human flesh so that we could be clothed in God. What an amazing gift!
I like what Brennan Manning writes: “Christmas is the promise that the God who came in history and comes daily in mystery will one day come in glory. God is saying in Jesus that in the end everything will be all right. Nothing can harm you permanently, no suffering is irrevocable, no loss is lasting, no defeat is more than transitory, no disappointment is conclusive. Jesus did not deny the reality of suffering, discouragement, disappointment, frustration, and death; he simply stated that the kingdom of God would conquer all of these horrors, that the Father’s love is so extravagant that no evil could possibly resist it.”
In a different way, Niagara Falls stands/flows as testimony to the greatness of our National Park system. Although the falls are partially protected by a small New York state park, the immediate vicinity is crowed with hotels, casinos, shopping malls, and other commercial distractions. If you want to see how it looked in the 1800’s, go to Wikipedia and scroll far down to the “Fine Art” section. You will find a couple amazing paintings. We do need to be grateful that this country has devoted so much effort to preserving the finest of our unique natural places.
Meg and I had never seen the Falls, which, we learned, are actually two major ones–American and Horseshoe. After viewing it at night, with all the big city commercial lights, we almost did not go back. Fortunately, we did return and took the “Maid of the Mist” boat ride that indeed takes you deep into the mist of Horseshoe Falls. We had not comprehended the power of the falls as the water drops from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. An average of four million cubic feet of water PER MINUTE falls into the river below. It was the most awesome water display we have seen. This power is gradually eroding the falls, and geologists estimate that in fifty thousand years, the remaining twenty miles to Lake Erie will have been removed, and falls will vanish into merely a swift river. We will be happy to go back and see the Falls again before they disappear.
These verses speak for themselves about the foundation we need first before we speak and act.