On Dec. 27, a radio voice announced that “Christmas is over!” Wait just a minute here. For many churches, Christmastide does not end until the 12th day of Christmas arrives with the 12 …
On Dec. 27, a radio voice announced that “Christmas is over!” Wait just a minute here. For many churches, Christmastide does not end until the 12th day of Christmas arrives with the 12 drummers! The commercial, economic and political Christmas might have ended on Dec. 26, but not my Christmas.
But it did earlier this week, on Jan. 6. Monday was Epiphany, the day on which we mark the arrival of the Parthian astrologers bearing a chest of gifts for the Christ child, who they found in a house with his mother. Before they presented the “goodies,” they “paid him homage.” They displayed a level of humility unusual in rich, clever and powerful personages.
The world often seems on the brink of one disastrous outcome or another. My mother was seven months pregnant with me when the German army invaded Poland (Sept. 1, 1939), and I was 2 when the Imperial Japanese naval air forces attacked Pearl Harbor and Londoners took refuge in the Underground Tubes. I was taking my first French horn lessons when Korea got hot. I was a grad student at the University of Washington when the Soviets were installing missiles in Cuba. I was on active duty when President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered the troops into Vietnam.
I have been a pastor for 47 years … and there has not been peace on Earth during any of those years. The Republicans this, the Democrats that and the independents otherwise. Oh my, and look at the churches of Jesus Christ! “I’m right and you’re wrong contentiousness,” self-righteousness and just plain ol’ cussedness are readily visible.
Can we learn a bit from those Parthian stargazers about humility? (Oh, it’s all right with me if you prefer, “We Three Kings of Orient are …”)
They did not count themselves more worthy than the child Jesus when they knelt before him. Can we adopt a modicum of humility which might prompt us to listen to the “other” who holds a differing idea, a disagreeable doctrine, a weird philosophy, or a way out there ideology? Might this promote “peace on Earth?” Or must we get our own way, protect our position and put the “other” down?
“… and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
(George Pasek is the interim pastor of Union Presbyterian Church in Powell.)