Imagine, if you will, a modern-day manger scene with live actors and animals. The shepherds are gathered around the stable with their sheep. The Wise Men (who didn’t actually come till months later) are there with expensive gifts. There is an angel on a ladder, or some raised prop, overseeing the holy family. Joseph is in his customary garb standing beside Mary who is wearing a traditional white robe or gown sitting beside the manger. The manger is made of fine hardwood and polished like brass. In the manger lies an AK-47; a grenade launcher; a yarmulke (pronounced yah-ma-kah), a skull cap worn by Jewish men, half burned; a keffiyeh (traditional Palestinian scarf) and baby blanket drenched in blood, and a scroll of Jewish scriptures, and the Koran shot full of bullet holes.

And, your response is, “How dare you desecrate and mock the manger that helped birth the Messiah, the Holy One of God?”

“How dare I?” you say. It is not me that is desecrating and mocking the manger, the first bed of the Christ child. Look around you, what do you see?

Newspaper headlines:

  • Ukraine’s war still raging
  • Hamas executes 1400 Israelis
  • Israel plans genocide of Hamas at all costs
  • 1.5 million Palestinians driven from their homes in Gaza with no future
  • Six killed in a mass shooting in Everytown, USA
  • Five synagogues in the south bombed overnight
  • One house of Congress believes their greatest contribution to America is to impeach Biden

Should I go on? Oh, and baby Jesus? He is safely resting in a storage area in almost every church.

Israel and Hamas are shooting and bombing the Holy crap out of each other in Gaza at the expense of innocent men, women and children. How does that stack up with Jesus’ words, “Love your Enemies?”  And sadly, the US-of-A continues supplying Israel with weapons to continue destroying a homeland and killing innocent people. Like it or not, we are an accomplice in this act of genocide. That said, not sure how you deal with a terrorist enemy that seeks only to wipe you out.

On the home front, we continue to have active shooters with AK-47s terrorizing our schools, shopping malls and local businesses because the majority in one house of Congress fails to believe in stricter gun control, not that stricter gun control would completely solve the issue. They believe that the insurrection of January 6th in 2021 was a family reunion that got a little rowdy. They also believe that an indicted criminal, womanizer and dictator wanna-be should be president again. I believe we have a government where one house of Congress has essentially sold their soul to the devil. Furthermore, bigotry and prejudice are actively attacking the Jewish and LGBTQ communities as well as the black and brown communities. And you think I am mocking the birth of the Christ! Have we, as a country, lost our ever-lovin’ mind?

Let’s all take a deep breath and calm down a bit.

Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”  That means that we cannot believe in peace when we continue to build war toys to solve world problems with our war machine while our country is going to hell in a hand basket. We have an aura of war, after all, that’s helped create America. Lest we not forget that America, land of the free and brave, was built on land grabbing from the Native Americans and the white ownership of black slaves.

However, we have nuanced our war efforts by saying that some wars are just. That is, they have merit in killing and destroying an enemy.

I would like to believe that there is such a thing as a “just” war. If such would be so I would consider the Revolutionary war a just war, simply because I have been fortunate to live with privilege in the USA. World War I…not sure. World war II, the only way, it seems, to get rid of an evil empire is through military means. Hitler, a case in point. However, using the atomic bomb on Japan is another matter, and in my mind unjust.

My point is this: Einstein insisted we cannot continue to talk about and seek after peace using a war mentality, simple as that.

It is said, know war, no peace; no war, know peace. War and peace are diametrically opposed to each other. They can’t even exist in the same sentence. Jimi Hendrix is credited with saying, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, then the world will know peace.” (Most likely this quote originated with Mahatma Gandhi).

Is there a way that we can put the Christ child back in the manger and anticipate a season of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love? God, I hope so. I long for it.

It seems to me, albeit regrettably so, that the war in Ukraine will continue as long as Putin wills it so. Also, we can say that the war in Israel against Hamas will most likely continue until one or the other has mutilated and destroyed the other as Netanyahu and Hamas have both adamantly claimed. There is another option that requires that more reasonable minds see the stupidity of war and agree to throw down their weapons and rebuild brother and sisterhood.

On the home front, I have an ounce of optimism that greater hearts and minds will prevail over this next year into the 2024 election cycle. One that will bring a congress heart felt and mindful of serving the country’s best interests. Call it a naive hope, but one that resonates in my soul.

So, for the moment, I will throw out the weapons and consequences of war that I originally put in the manger and replace them with the baby Jesus, the Christ child, the incarnation of God. Christ radiates new light for a new awakening. I am hopeful that that light energy will awaken us, Christian or not, to an anchor of peace, accelerated by love and offering exuberant joy to all of creation. Matthew’s gospel tells us that Jesus said, “YOU are the Light of the World, let your Light shine, don’t hide it as God has intention that your Light be seen.” So, when you gaze at the lights on your Christmas tree or the intense and glorious lights of the stars on a clear night, know that it is a reminder that the light of Christ surrounds us and resides within us giving our light a little extra twinkle. May we live in the illumination of that Light.

I wrote a song some years back titled, “There’s a Light Shining in the Manger.” The lyrics of the chorus are as follows:

There’s a light shining in the manger,

Shining from the stable floor.

There’s a light shining all around the world,

Lighting a path to God’s front door

Where Peace reigns, forever more!

Listen to “There’s a Light Shining in the Manger”

For more original music, follow me on SoundCloud.

Christmas Blessings!