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December 2013

This Season's for the Birds


By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  ~John 13:35
Why does the media seem to always use this holy time of year to showcase the worst in humanity?  Frankly, humanity does a good enough job of this itself in regular news-worthy acts (school shootings, war-zone atrocities, daily murders, whatever Congress is arguing about).  But the media adds to the frenzy by showing montages of insanity during Black Friday sales, poking the annual Christmas vs. Holiday vs. Xmas wounds, and airing 'holiday' specials that are NOT about Christmas (or Hanukkah) and are FAR less than special.
This year, two stories particularly trouble me.  The first, a story about Atheists who have put up a billboard in Times Squares saying "Who needs Christ in Christmas...Nobody" with a big X through 'Christ'.  The second is the controversy sparked when a blogger casually suggested that Santa be portrayed as a penguin so that race would not be an issue.  Megyn Kelly of Fox News then declared that Santa and Jesus are white!
What troubles me about these stories is not the viewpoints from which they are born (which, obviously, I don't agree with)  Rather, it is the way they are being presented to the public: just a huge, insensitive face slap to millions of people who don't need anything else to be upset about right now.  We all have opinions in this country of ours, and our wonderful Constitution guarantees us the right to share them freely.  That's fine. But it's Christmas, people!  With so many people out of work, so many people worrying about health-care coverage, so many people wondering how they'll put presents under the tree this year, do we really need this level of insensitivity bordering on cruelty?  Is what we need at Christmas BIGOTRY? 


[big-uh-tree] noun,
1. stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own.
The whole point of Christmas is RECONCILIATION -- God reconciling with humanity, humanity reconciling with each other: Jew and Gentile, Slave and Master, male and female, etc.  Love God and love one another. It's so simple and yet so hard. But why oh why does it inspire such anger and hate?  Is humanity that far gone that we can't set aside differences for just a month...a week...a DAY?
I gaze out the kitchen window at my bird feeder.  There, all bunched together in the snow are cowbirds, juncos, cardinals, red-headed woodpeckers, chickadees, titmouses, nuthatches, sparrows, blue jays and mourning doves...even a few squirrels and chipmunks.  Some are regulars, some are seasonal migrants. Big and small, they have all had different life experiences.  Some nest in trees, some in bushes, some in cozy bird houses.  They even prefer different kinds of seed.  Yet there they are, all at once, living and eating together on my deck.  They aren't hoarding it for themselves, they aren't defending it against the others, they aren't pecking each other to death -- they are just eating, and flying and returning.
I wish we could be more like those little birds....