Merry Christmas to All!

Joy to the World, the Lord is Come, Let Earth Receive her King!”
“If there’s a day in history that I’m familiar with, without a doubt one day stands out December 25.”
It hardly matters whether you believe that Christ was born of a virgin or that he was the descendant of the House of David or whether you believe that he will come again in Glory to judge both the quick and the dead, or in the resurrection of the dead in their flesh and the life in the world to come.  The simple fact is that the symbolic value to which hundreds of millions of people attach and attribute to this day is indeed “the hope and fears of all the years.”  The hope that people have for a good and decent life, whether those hopes be articulated by white, black, brown, yellow or red people, are embodied in the preaching called “The Good News” of the Gospels.
The lessons taught by that certain Rabbi Yeshua, son of Joseph, brother of James, are among the greatest lessons ever taught, and I don’t see how anyone can possibly argue with the truth, beauty, and value of the words that came down to us in those four amazingly short books attributed to his friends Mattias, Marcos, Lucas, and Ioannis.
Yes, there is no day in history like December 25, even if the “historical” Jesus was more likely to have been born closer to March 25 (I like to think that the historical Christos and I have a few things in common, and so I can imagine that the historical Jesus shared “my sign” and I’m an Aries…..)
No more beautiful speech was ever given than the Sermon on the Mount, and I do not see how people of all faiths cannot follow those words of justice and wisdom.
This year I am not sending out any Christmas Cards or Greetings by regular or electronic post.
For the First Time in 7 years I am spending the entire Holidays with my own only born son Charlie, and between all the crises with Orly and the various mortgage cases, there’s just been no time.
But to all my family, my friends, acquaintances, and yes, even to my enemies and critics (including the commie-pinko-bastards on so many hateful sites who ridicule me and everything I do), I say,
and likewise
—because on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets….
Yes, I would love my neighbors (and even my enemies and critics, which now include Dr. Orly Taitz) as myself, and by “love” I mean all that Jesus and St. Paul meant rendered in that Greek word “Agape”.    I tried to teach Orly this lesson all year, but it is particularly good to remember it at Christmastime,
it is good to remember that aside from Christ’s preaching in the Gospels, the greatest wisdom in the New Testament is found in St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 13:
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not Love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all Faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not Love, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not Love, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Love suffereth long, and is kind; Love envieth not; Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth Faith, Hope, and Love, these three; but the greatest of these is Love.

3 responses to “Merry Christmas to All!

  1. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

    • Who is my neighbor? Who is “thy” neighbor? If you have never met a man, nor seen him, nor knowingly been within 5 miles of him, is he your neighbor? Scholars who study the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible have long studed the meaning of the word “neighbor” and say that this commandment establishes not so much as an absolute as a sacred “norm” of conduct which supports and reinforces the maintenance of community stability. Not everyone is a neighbor, within the meaning of the Biblical commandments, Leviticus and Deuteronomy quite explicitly set out rules which presume that God’s warriors in Israel not only may but should wage war and capture enemy villages, kill all the men, take the women as concubines, and the children as slaves….. Even with proximity, serious injustice can result from respecting the rights of a nearby “neighborly” tyrant who forces his will on others, including his wife, who steals from others, and who is selfish and greedy to the point of destroying those whom HE in turn has never met…..
      Jesus, in Luke 10:25-37 tells the story of “the Good Samaritan” in answer to the Pharisee who asked this question “Who is my Neighbor?”. But the key point of this story is the duty to help an innocent victim without regard to the old taboos about purity or strangers. From my perspective, the commandment cited is no barrier to taking steps to remedying injustices, to comfort those in need, and above all, Jesus says that we should totally “upset the applecart” of the law when the higher values of justice and love are contradicted or frustrated by an unjust law. Jesus was not only a transcendentalist, but a precursor of the authors of Mediaeval Romances, as well as of the operas of Richard Wagner and all those who still believe that God gave the law for men, and not man for the law….

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