Sometimes there is nothing as welcoming being home. I just returned from visiting my parents in Minnesota. It was a good visit. I was able to spend time with my parents, grandparents and friends. It was a blessing and a balm for my soul.

My mother loves Christmas music. She loves being able to listen to it. Shortly after I arrived home she and I were cooking and listening to carols-- Silent Night came on. I started reflecting on that song and many of the carols. Many carols that are traditional at Christmas rejoice and detail the birth of Jesus. But to think about Bethlehem and Jerusalem, to think of the part of the world where Jesus lived and the physical location of the stories of the Bible, we see only conflict now. Daily there is religious strife, wars, death, and exploitation. It’s true that miracles are present even in the middle of war, but they are surrounded by the brutality of humanity. There is no silent night now.

Peace on Earth and Good Will to Men.

My home meeting has a lovely Christmas Eve tradition of potluck, singing, and worship. In the last few years we have even gotten my father a lapsed non-practicing Catholic to attend with the rest of the family. I get sent ahead to pick up my grandparents who no longer drive and who make a fine art of slowness. My grandfather is particularly a master in the craft of slowness.

This year’s celebration was lovely. I got to see many people I had not seen since last year’s Christmas. I was also able to reunite with old friends and start our friendships anew. The potluck was wonderful, complete with the traditional rum optional homemade Egg Nog.

After the potluck we all gather in the meeting room for caroling followed by silent worship. As we selected songs, I kept reflecting on the lyrics with their talk of peace and salvation that was forth-coming now that our savior has been born in Bethlehem. I started thinking back to my ruminations on Silent Night. Before I knew it I was speaking out of the silence between songs. Reflecting on war, conflict, religion, and humanity.

We have made Jesus’ life petty. We have made it a celebration of consumer goods prostrated before the alter of material greed. We create conflict and war in the name of the Prince of Peace. We Christians, are the new money-changers in the temple.

What was truly a blessing in this was the response after meeting had risen. Several people came to speak with my about the points I had raised and thanked me for my ministry. I am very grateful to have my home meeting.

It is good to be home.

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