Photo Prompt # 8 Reason for the Season? 12.20.12

Tree

It is inescapable.  Swivel your eyes to the left and you are bombarded with Christmas trees.  Squint to the right and you are inundated with wrapping paper, lights, gift bags, and tinsel.  While your eyes take in the scenery, your ears signal to you that you are humming along with the Muzak playing religious or holiday songs.  And if you are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time you may be jostled, by like-mesmerized-shoppers, right off your path only to discover you are in front of a shop filled with the wonderful fragrance of gingerbread or peppermint.

Thinking about Christmas this year what struck me was this: why do some people celebrate Christmas if they are non-believers in God?  What purpose do they have for purchasing or exchanging gifts?  Why do they go through the hustle and bustle of the holiday?

As a believer I know that with each token I bestow on someone else I am honoring God and the gift He gave us in the gift of Jesus.  While my tokens certainly don’t measure up, it’s the thought that counts right?  Although my public practices have been stifled by man’s offensive bastardization of what my innocent childhood relied on to be true, I continue to foster my faith by holding true traditions instilled in me from an early age.

Prancer

Not a season goes by that I don’t watch all movie versions of “Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Clause”, the only version of “It’s A Wonderful Life”, and of course “Prancer”.  I try not to miss televised offerings of “Frosty”, “Charlie Brown’s Christmas”, and the original “Grinch Who Stole Christmas”. I always hope to catch the Norelco commercial with Santa sledding through the snow.norelco-santa

 

These shows are certainly not religious in nature but they infuse, in my heart at least, the basic kindness that propels humanity toward being compassionate,   kind, and supportive of one another as we journey through our life here on earth just as Jesus portrayed during his journey.  It is the least he expects of us and most days we fall short of the least of his expectations.

I read the story of Jesus’ birth while playing the religious holiday songs that are my favorite.  I contemplate that goal of reading the whole Bible and again have the internal argument about being cheated out of the books someone before me felt didn’t need to be included and what I am missing by not getting to read everything.

So someone tell me what I am missing now.  If you don’t believe in God, what are you celebrating on December 25th?

 

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Where Is God In Tragedy? Photo Prompt #6 12.16.12

Eye_of_God_by_SSpirito

Acceptable answers don’t exist. We are told repeatedly by our religious leaders and faith-filled friends that the answers are not for us to know–at least not now. One day we will know, the adage goes. Today is not the day. You will not find the answer here. I don’t have them. I apologize to you now for not having the answers for you; the same answers I am seeking. Where is God in tragedy?

My venture will be clumsy but I have to make the journey because to do nothing is too crippling and mires me to the anguish. At this point I’m on the quest for hope. Whether you believe in a benevolent God or God at all, I believe in humanity; yes even after Sandy Hook. Maybe–especially after Sandy Hook. Humanity is the only place I can look for answers right now.

A lady once told me that every time she looked into someone’s face the first thing she saw was the face of God. I can remember the discussion was about intolerance and literature and teaching and she was older than I. We were at an English teachers’ conference and her words struck me with such an epiphany of clarity that I have never forgotten the moment. What intolerance led to such an event in Newtown is unclear. How much intolerance measures out the young lives of those taken who cannot possibly have done wrong? Did the carnage erase the calamity he was dealt that drove him to such a rage? Evidently not, since his life was the last he took.

So if you pay attention to God, if you believe, or attention to goodness, or to simple humanity EVERY time you look into the face of another, and filter your thoughts and actions from that angle, maybe, just maybe, the evil that pervades our earth will lose its stronghold and God (insert whatever) won’t have to be doubted. Try to live like the children of Sandy Hook did in their innocence and ignorance to intolerance. Step up as the parents of these children are in their humble handling of a loss so egregious it could have turned them to ash in the firehouse when the words were heard. Be the reflected face of God and extend kindness before rudeness; acceptance before judgment; assistance before blindness; charity before stinginess but most of all love before indifference and power earth with the good that should connect us all instead of tragedy that draws us together shouting why and God where are you?