What We Want for Christmas

The Palestinian government is in a state of confusion.  President Mahmoud Abbas, head of the PLO, is at logger-heads with Hamas, the radical Islamic Party of God, and is finding it impossible to form a coalition government.  Hamas refuses to accept Israel’s right to exist. 
The government of Lebanon is also struggling to survive.  The radical leaders of Hezbollah have resigned from Parliament and the “so called” Christian government is tottering on the brink of collapse. Its neighbor, Syria is poised to capitalize on the coming catastrophe.
Iraq is on fire.  The three ethnic, religious factions are finding it impossible to set aside their differences and sectarian hatred is sweeping the country like a California wild fire.  American forces are bogged down in the middle of what some are calling a “Civil War,” and others a Vietnam-style quagmire, and some just see as a “blood bath.”  Four hundred billion dollars has not been enough to purchase peace in the middle-east, neither has the sacrifice of nearly three thousand of our young people and the maiming, cutting, and crippling of twenty-one thousand others.
Afghanistan is still broken, governed by war lords and the Taliban have resurged, proving evil is not easily eradicated. The world is at war.
Last week, the Mexican Presidential Inauguration ceremony erupted into a fist fight when the Leftist Party refused to gracefully accept what they insist was a manipulated defeat. The world is in a mess. It would take all day to mention the chaos in Columbia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, not to mention Darfur, Kenya, the Congo, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kashmir, North Korea, and Venezuela. I could go on. Did I fail to mention Iran is building a nuclear bomb?
The world is in desperate need of Christmas -- not the Christmas of hype, but the Christmas of hope -- Not the Christmas of Black Fridays and shopping malls, or decking halls, or jingle bells, or North Pole spells and Santa Claus. It needs a Christmas filled with wise men.  We seem to have so few these days.  We need a Christmas with angels and messengers bringing good news from heaven.  Now we have cable news, twenty-four seven.  The world needs a Christmas with less hooky presents and more holy presence and one with less “spirits” and more Spirit.  We need one with less Herods and more Heralds, and Shepherds who have found Peace on Earth and have good will toward men. 
We need a Christmas with less ribbons and more reflection, with less fantasy and more faith.  We need less dreaming about sugar plums and i-pods, Elmos and egg nogs, and more meditation on the incarnation of God, and destination of man.  We need more humble stables than jewels, minks and sables.  We need a Christmas of God trading places and our learning what grace is. We need a Christmas that traces footsteps from the cradle to the cross.  We need a Christmas that sends the Magi home a different way, than the one by which they came.  The world needs to know that Jesus did not come to create another religion. He came to save us from our sin, and that before we change the “without” we must change “within.”  The world has enough Christmas presents.  What it really needs is Christmas presence. The world needs Jesus, this year more than ever.