Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas, y'all -- from a man who worships a refugee

Just a quick note, a Merry Christmas to all.  We at the Stark House have been giddy, preparing for Santa's arrival, and watching presents pile up under the tree (which, by the way, seemed to have a three-foot thick trunk, quite unusual for a seven-foot tree... there was much trimming).

The weather turned cold today in California, dropping from the mid-fifties yesterday into the low forties today, and feet of snow are piling up on the Sierra Nevada.  A great Christmas miracle, if you ask me.

Tomorrow is the day we celebrate the birth of our Savior, and I am reminded that we are blessed to live where we do, and to have what we have.  As a Christian, I know it isn't because of my hard work that we are blessed, and I do not believe it is karma.  I believe that the sun rises on the evil and the good; and the rain comes down on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matt.5:45).

I am also reminded that His family were forced to run, in fear for their lives.  They were hunted in their homeland, and had to go into exile as refugees into Egypt.

Nor did Joseph take up arms to defend his home.  I've seen some call those men who get their families or themselves out of war zones cowards for leaving war.  I can never make such a sweeping claim with confidence, because I don't know each person's situation, and I know that, before anything else, each one is unique.

As a Christian, I must admit that none of us knows perfectly of God's will. I know for sure that I am a sinner, that I fall short of the Perfect Good, of Love, constantly.  Like C.S. Lewis points out, we can be sure that we know good, and that we don't do it.

But I worship a God who became a man, and who, as a child, had to flee with his family as refugees.  I worship a God who commands me to make a place for all, even those who worship differently than I do.  I worship a God who calls me to defend widows and orphans, to care for the poor, and the imprisoned, to give to any who ask of me.

Nowhere am I commanded to only do these things if I am not afraid.  In fact, I am told to fear not!  I am commanded to not cower, but to open up even to those who may do me harm.  Christianity makes no room for cowardice to determine our actions. 

I almost never meet these requirements, but I cannot for a second pretend that they don't exist.

So Merry Christmas from our family to yours.  Please take a moment to consider those who are forced to flee, and if you do, pray for them. 

"And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others?  Do not even pagans do that?" Matthew 5:47.

1 comment:

Iris said...

Josh, this may be an unusual request, but I see that you were once in contact with Tom in Angola (Hippo on the lawn). The blog world misses him and wonders whatever became of him. Although non of us knows him personally, we are all very worried about his health. If you know anything, would you mind sharing? Very many thanks!