December 21 2022
Good morning.The Manger Scene at the bottom of the email is not a traditional or orthodox rendition of the Mary and Joseph story. Soldiers are both shooting at, and defending the manger.
Herod wanted to surround the house in Bethlehem, and kill the baby. He did not succeed, but he did kill many babies under the age of two. Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt ( the great enemy ) under the threat of death. Maybe, there are still enemies who would want Jesus to die.
In and around 313-323, Emperor Constantine made the Roman Empire Christian. Now the manger was being defended by the muscle of the Romans. They would kill people in the name of Christ. This happened to many people who were on the fringes of society. Then, in the Middle Ages, the Crusaders killed many people who did not believe in the right God, or believe God in the right way. Then, the church killed people in the 1500’s who had their Bible translated into another language other than Latin.
And even today, not only are Russia and Ukraine fighting a war, but their churches, the Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox churches are cheering their side in the war, the right side of course. So, the manger scene below is not quite accurate, but it might tell a truth that I would not like to see, especially during Christmas.
God of peace, and of justice and of love,
guide us into the ways of reconciliation with all people.
Help us to throw down our weapons of words and of actions.
Your words of love,
found in the manger,
might find their way to all peoples,
and bring joy. AMEN