Uphill all the way, it's about 40 miles from Nazareth, by the Sea of Galilee to the little village of Bethlehem outside Jerusalem. The woman - eight uncomfortable months pregnant - doesn't complain as her husband plods along, mumbling to himself about the stupid government, the dumb donkey, lost work, and his confused mix of loyalty, loss, and worry for his wife and the child she bears.
Today's reality is not the "sweet baby Jesus, asleep on the hay" of our Christmas pageants. Although, by the grace of God, flickers of new life and light continue to shatter the unholy darkness, this story of desperate necessity and fear-filled love is being lived out by thousands of families in that same "holy land" this very season. Where is the safe refuge when the descendant of that over-burdened donkey is turned away at the hostile checkpoint from its trip to the maternity hospital? Where is the holy witness when the wise men never would have gotten visas?
We are Christians; United by our faith in Jesus Christ; and Called by God to walk together in our community of faith called the UCC. We, in the congregations of the RI Conference of the United Church of Christ, are called to learn from Jews, Muslims, and other Christians how God's Word has been revealed to them and in what ways we all worship the one true God and travel the same holy road. Then, may we, like the humble Samaritan, join with all those who seek peace to reach out to travelers on that Jerusalem road and all the chaotic roads crowded with refugees. Through contributions to OGHS Global Ministries and in whatever other ways we are able, may we offer safety and gifts to the least of these, the child who is about to be born, surely the child of God.
And may Hope and Peace and Love and Joy bless us all and those we love and grant us peace in our time. Blessings!
Contributed by Rev. Beverly Edwards
We invite users of this website to post comments in response to posts published here. In order to maintain a respectful community, we insist that comments be polite, respectful and tolerant of opposing viewpoints. We reserve the right to remove comments that are hostile, hateful or abusive to others, or that constitute personal attacks. In the interest of transparency, we highly recommend that users comment using their full names. For those who feel a need for more anonymity, however, we will allow posts using first names and last initial.