-by Tim Bias

“O Holy child of Bethlehem, descend on us we pray Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today.

We hear the Christmas angel, the great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel.

-From “O Little Town of Bethlehem”

Do you ever think that religion and religious faith seem powerless to make a difference in the events in our communities or in the lives of individuals?  I do. I think it is because we too often have reduced our faith to a discussion of an idea, or to the trust in a book. Some of us seem to worship the Bible. Others of us have faith in a doctrine more than we worship God or use doctrine to point us to God. The Bible has never saved anyone. And the world is not dying for lack of true doctrine.

In lives broken with racism, bankrupt of purpose, and boasting of misplaced affluence, a better idea is not going to rescue us. No sentimentalism of a prettier story will take us to the place of peace.

In a world of terrorism, slave trade, and poverty, a better idea is not going to solve our problems.  If better ideas were the answer we would be living in peace with each other and with all creation.

I sometimes think of it this way: God could have said, “Here’s something that will save the world if you only believe it.” Or God could have said, “Here is a sacred document. Accept whatever it says.”

But God did not come among us as a book or a document. God came to as flesh and blood, in human form. God’s idea became flesh, born in the city of David, in the days of Herod, the King.

God’s idea, God’s Word, became human and moved into our neighborhoods, our cities, our families, our lives, so we could find our way in the midst of the brokenness, to make us whole. We can be free of fear and anxiety and despair. We don’t have to be subject to the powers and principalities which tear our lives apart. We don’t have to be subject to the powers and principalities that give rise to suspicions and fears in our communities. We can address terrorism, violence, racism, exclusive systems. We can be made whole. That’s the good news of great joy the angels told shepherds about, out on the hills keeping watch over their flocks by night.

God’s idea, God’s Word, can change the world. There is hope for peace, not because we are armed for protection, strong with military power, but because we treat people with respect and equality. We learn from each other, sharing what we have for the good of everyone. Our “swords will be turned into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks.” There can be justice and dignity for every person. The kingdom of God can take shape right in the midst of the kingdoms of this world,

I believe our world will change when the miracle of Bethlehem, the Word, walks through our living places, our homes and the systems around which we organize life.

At this season of the year we, as individuals, and we, as all creation, can take one step closer to shalom: God’s idea of wholeness, and peace.  God has come among us in the only form that can rescue us in a person, a child, a savior, who is Christ the Lord.

“O Holy child of Bethlehem, descend on us we pray Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today.

We hear the Christmas angel, the great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel.” (From “O Little Town of Bethlehem”)

1 reply
  1. Gary Mosimann
    Gary Mosimann says:

    Tim… you keep us focused. Thanks! Would you reflect sometime soon on the Wesley’s sense of personal responsibility as one turns to Jesus and their future in the Christian faith? Blessings! And, Happy New Year!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']