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’Tis the season for Scrooges to join the wise ones, who visit a poor baby

For the season of cold weather and warm hearts, yes, even some Scrooges seem to “get it.”  We’re seeing the resilience, persistence and resourcefulness of the area’s many agencies providing warmth, housing, food, caring, hospitality, challenges and listening ears to increasing numbers of people struggling in this economy.

In news, proposed political solutions seem to spiral away from faithful responses that are so logical and simple, but one politician said, “In these times, we need to take care of each other.”  A Congresswoman also offered some logical options to recycled ideas of cutting services to, opportunities for and entitlement programs for the vulnerable, including the middle class.

The hot potato is recognizing that more wealth—one quarter—is lodged and stuck in the pockets of one percent of the people, who still don’t seem ready or willing to join in the sacrifice the rest of the nation is experiencing willingly or unwillingly.

Imagine, more people who have lost jobs and can’t find work are volunteering to care for neighbors!

Imagine, people in ministries and nonprofits are out of work because of funding cuts.  As they join in lines for turkeys and toys with people they once served former co-workers have to do more.

Imagine, many newly poor are educated and know they are not alone in their pain.  They won’t just cry and wail in grief over their individual loss.  They will speak out.  They will be heard!

Imagine, anxiety spreads in families as loved ones live on the edge because the government assistance just isn’t enough—and never was.  Families stretch to share their wealth, to listen, pained to live far apart or welcoming family members back.

Ah, a Baby was born to bring peace and justice.  Ah, a Prophet announced that his ministry is to bring good news to the poor and recovery of sight to those blinded by their comfort and overabundance.  When he spoke the painful truth, he was not received with popularity but did not worry about what people thought of him.

Ecumenical and interfaith efforts are stirring awareness in faith communities around the globe, among the nations’ policy makers and through the gleaming skyscrapers.  The call to justice is in all of our scriptures.

Words of hope and joy seem inadequate in these worst of times,” said my pastor, Joan Sulser in a recent sermon at Cheney United Church of Christ.  She reminded us that Israel also experienced “the worst of times” many times.  As we note that these times are bad, we remember that so was the Depression, World War II, the Cold War, the Civil Rights struggle, the Vietnam War, burning cities and other recessions.

It’s no excuse for today’s unbalanced suffering and sacrifice at the hands of those in power who want to remain in power.

What will awaken us to act, to rise from our TVs, cell phones and pews?  When will too much be too much?  How will we find our voices?  When will this era stir enough people to nonviolent disobedience?  When will we recognize we have lost our freedom by fighting terrorism?  When will we stop thinking “might makes right” and stop pouring our wealth into killing people?

Jesus’ birth into poverty—announced to shepherds and drawing attention of wise folk—is a story we repeat each year, often without understanding in the midst of our holiday holy days of shopping frenzies. 

There is hope, because God is with us, we are with God and each other.  The stories of hope, peace, goodwill and challenge, invite us, to “fear not,” put our faith into action and donate what we can.

Mary Stamp - Editor

 

Copyright © December 2010 - The Fig Tree