Letter: The reason for the season
To be clear about the meaning of Christmas, it is important first to remember that Jesus was neither Aryan nor Anglo-Saxon. And, more importantly, that his was a revolutionary voice against the sociopolitical and economic customs and morality of his time. His vision of power was not one of subjugation, violence, exploitation and wealth, but one of caring, forgiveness and inclusion. This was a belief for the disadvantaged and oppressed. It is the Christianity practiced by Martin Luther King and appears to be the message that Pope Francis is attempting to instill again within the Catholic Church.
Also significant is that the Sermon on the Mount was given on a hillside, in the open air, not from the pulpit of a magnificent temple. Nor is it random circumstance that the birth of Jesus is celebrated at the winter solstice, long recognized in ancient “pagan” religious practice as a time of rebirth when sunlight hours stop shrinking and begin to lengthen again. This places Christianity squarely as a religion not only of human kindness, but also as an observer and caretaker of the realities of our life here on Earth. These are messages one hopes all people can take to heart.
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