By Scott Spreier.
Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the new-born king; peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!”
I first remember singing this wonderful song as a youngster at our church Christmas pageant. (Or was it the school pageant? In those bygone days, we sang it at both.) Since then, wherever and whenever I’ve sung it, waves of hope and goodness have flowed through me.
Hope, for me and no doubt others, has dimmed, overshadowed by the death and destruction of war, and the hate — even in our country — that creates such violence, divisive politics that threaten our democracy and climate degradation that could spell the end of the world God created — along with us, his anointed caretakers who seem hellbent on destroying it.
Add to this toxic mix the emergence of artificial intelligence, and it’s no wonder peace on earth and mercy mild have become all but alien concepts.
And yet, through the sheer power of faith, a glimmer of hope flickers. A glimmer made brighter by the story of a mother and her son. A lowly peasant with the faith and courage to bring forth the Christ child who would one day embrace the same strong faith and courage to change the world.
Mary, brave and unassuming, did not turn her back when God reached out. Rather, she leaned into the life-changing, difficult task God gave her. So did her son, who, shouldering the legacy his father bestowed on him, sacrificed his own life by speaking truth to power.
When reading the Christmas story, we sometimes overlook these bold, selfless acts of a mother and son. Unlike those who use their power to silence and subjugate, Mary and Jesus used theirs to lift up the oppressed and restore hope and faith in turbulent times. Their actions and sacrifices are beautiful examples of another of God’s gifts to us, one that too often lies unopened under the Christmas tree: Her sharing of power to benefit humankind.
Sadly, the use of power to control, marginalize and silence others continues today just as it did 2,000 years ago. The fear, hate and violence it perpetuates has not abated. But God shares his power with us, so that we in turn can use it unselfishly for the good of our fellow men and women and the creation of a gentler world
This Christmas, let us open this important gift from God and do what is in our power to restore the peace and mercy mild we desperately seek for our troubled world.