Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas/Kwanzaa/New Years Greeting, 2014

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay;
Remember Christ, our Saviour,
Was born on Christmas day,
To save us all from Satan's power
When we’re gone astray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.

We don’t often consider the words of songs we hear over and over again.  Unless we are assigned the task of study, we accept the lyrics as is without much thought.  It’s about familiarity and tradition, not so much contemplating the deeper meaning in what we sing when it comes to songs sung year after year.  For me, this year has been one of contemplation, an honest effort to answer a single question: Where is God in all this? 

Rather than recording the juicy details of this past year (and they have been rather sumptuous,) I would like to summarize my findings to this inquiry as a Christmas greeting.  It is not so much an answer as it is a culminating feeling experienced when seeking, one in which I believe binds us all together.  We may live in different places. We may not look or think the same way.  But one thing is true of all of us: we seek connection, long to be loved. And as humans, we all feel the same emotions.  Fear.  Courage. Regret. Pride. Sorrow.  Joy.  Confusion. Clarity.  The circumstance by which we encounter such feelings may differ, but the feeling “is what it is,” regardless. 

This Christmas, I feel it is my duty, as the one often labeled as “over-emotional” to reflect on how we feel about the world around us.  Close and far away.  Familiar or completely foreign to our way of life.  I ask that we do what God does for each of us, in our ugliness and our most fabulous: love one another.

I’ve had many highlights in my life.  One occurred when I lived in Los Angeles and shook hands with Stevie Wonder.  It was late, I was alone and had no one to share my enthusiastic glee at having met one of my heroes.  His song, “Love’s In Need” is my comfort and joy to sing, and in light (or darkness, depending on your worldview) of the state of the world today, I’d like to share these lyrics in the hope – which I hold onto in remembrance of the promise in Christ – that we would enter the new year with these words on our hearts and minds in each personal interaction, whether we agree with the person or not. 

We must return to the singular commonality that we all share:  We are human.  We’re fragile. We fall short.  Despite our best intentions, we completely fail:  as a national legal system, as a local government, as an educational institution, as individuals.   Though we are imperfect, we can, at any time, access the most perfect freedom from all failings when we go where God is by responding with LOVE.  Please, in the name of all that is good and right in the world, choose love this year.  For a refresher course in this life saver, see Corinthians 13.

Now, then – pull out your old record player, or click on YouTube, search for the melody (lyrics below,) and sing along with Stevie!  Have a very, merry Christmas and a loving New Year.

Love’s In Need of Love

By Stevie Wonder

Good morn or evening friends

Here's your friendly announcer

I have serious news to pass on

To everybody

What I'm about to say

Could mean the world's disaster

Could change your joy and laughter

To tears and pain

It's that love's in need of love today

Don't delay, send yours in right away

Hate's goin' 'round, breakin' many hearts

Stop it please, before it's gone too far

The force of evil plans

To make you its possession

And it will if we let it

Destroy everybody

We all must take

Precautionary measures

If love and peace you treasure

Then you'll hear me when I say

Oh that, love's in need of a love today

(Love's in need of love today)

Don't delay

(Don't delay)

Send yours in right away

(Right away)

Hate's goin' 'round

Breakin' hearts

Stop it, please

Gone too far

Love's in need

Of love today

Don't delay
Send yours in right away

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