Carlyle Fielding Stewart III

Writings on Democracy, Social Justice, and Religion

“This Christmas!”

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This Christmas! ‘Our prayers and love go out for people everywhere for joy, peace, healing and  justice that is just especially for those who are lonely, hungry, wounded and afraid.

My mind and thoughts go out to people everywhere who have been the victims of war and violence for we often forget the casualties and devastations of war and the lingering invasions and infractions that war brings to the lives of ordinary people.

I think of the families who have lost their sons and daughters and mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers to war; the children whose lives have been snuffed out and cut short by war and the insidious, unmitigated forms of violence that begets war and bedevils its victims.

Who knows the pain of those black and other families who have lost their children and fathers to gun violence?

Who knows the sorrow of those millions of people suffering daily from the violence of hunger, sickness, disease and displacement?

Who knows the anguish of those suffering from domestic violence and the various forms of structural violence which instigate the devaluation of their persons because they are different or other, and which woefully promulgate the denigration of their character and the demolition of any future possibilities of life on earth?

Who knows the pain and tears of those who have lost the portraits and landscapes of eternally cherished memories from fires, floods, landslides, rains, heavy snows and other forms of eco devastation that bring ravage and ruin to countless many?

Where is there an end of it, the soundless wailing. Where is there an end to the drifting wreckage?”  says the poet Eliot.

This Christmas! we must call attention and bring an end to the violence which demeans and diminishes life in every form.

Let us know longer delude or enshroud ourselves in the cold, calculating equations of apathy and indifference which shields us from the harsh realities of people spiralling daily into the eternal abyss of disillusionment, destruction and continued dislocation and alienation in our society.

This Christmas let us pray and work for peace and justice for all people; not just some who have favor, but those who have fallen into disfavor; those forgotten and abandoned; those discarded and disregarded because of race, class, age, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and all other superficial forms of division which should have no claim or aegis in the ultimate determination of their value, worth and personhood.

This Christmas, let us do more than recite our prayers, exalt and enshrine our lamentations into postcards from the edge; bemoan and bewail that the center cannot hold; preach the horrors of the languishing nature of lingering sinfulness while gorging our girths with every possible delicacy, frivolity and amenity.

This Christmas!

Let us work and pray and pray and work to transform our world through the presence and power of God’s redeeming love. The center can hold for those at the center and those on the tattered edges and teetering on the razor-sharp fringes of it all.

Let us remember this Christmas that we are all, each of us, recipients of God’s amazing grace, and are called not to guardedly hoard it and shelve it, but to dispense it in ways that give shape and form to our continued radical amazement and radical witness to God’s radical intervention and saving of the lives of people everywhere.

Let us remember this Christmas that the message of hope and love and justice and peace and spiritual renewal are still worthy of sharing and uplift for people everywhere. It is must music to the ears of every soul who has life and breath on earth and in heaven. Every man, woman, boy and girl can harken and herald this message. Every person wants love, justice, hope, peace to be made well and whole. While these universal themes are not exclusively claimed by any one religion, they are central to the Christian faith and are benchmarks of other religions and have universal resonance for people everywhere.

This Christmas, let us not only pray but work diligently to bring about a world where all people can live in harmony and peace; where all people can find meaning and value and live long healthy lives; where all people can live with dignity, hope and the promise of redemption and transformation through the love of God.

This Christmas!

Let there finally be peace on earth and goodwill to all people everywhere!

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