These three pieces are all that remain from the nativity set of my childhood, but I treasure them dearly. I can remember holding that precious Baby Jesus carefully in my chubby hands when I was very little; now they remain behind my china closet doors to keep them safe from harm. As I look at them — the praying mother Mary, the innocent lamb, and the peaceful Baby Jesus, I feel serenity in my heart.
Serenity is not easy in this tumultuous world of ours. Daily we are bombarded with photos of innocents wounded by war, terrorist attacks and mass shootings are becoming more frequent in our society, and the Presidential election this year has brought out the worst in us, as we spar back and forth on social media. Divisiveness abounds as we look with suspicion on those of different races, colors, and religions. We are living in difficult times.
We must hold in our hearts the good that we do see — the photos of men digging by hand through the rubble of war to save each and every living being who is buried beneath the stones and concrete, the churches, synagogues, mosques and temples that open their doors to each other to forge friendships and promote understanding, the school playground where black, brown and white hands grasp each other in friendship.
That little baby boy, born all those years ago in Bethlehem, grew into the Savior who taught us that the second greatest commandment is “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
May we all hold that commandment in our hearts as we sit in church on this Christmas Eve, as we gather for dinner with family and friends on Christmas Day, and as we go about our lives each day thereafter.
Merry Christmas and may peace be with you and yours