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As I See It: A tale of two holidays

Both Thanksgiving and Christmas have religious and secular roots, but Christmas has far deeper religious roots that are continually being co-opted and replaced by secular concerns and practices.

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Less than a month ago, we observed Thanksgiving Day. In addition to giving thanks for the multitude of blessings we have received, the family focus leads to one of the heaviest travel periods of the year as friends and relatives ride, drive, fly, walk, run and pedal to gather together for a long weekend of sharing and celebration.

I believe two of the things we don’t always appreciate enough are the form of our government and the freedoms we enjoy because of that government.

We have issues and shortcomings in our country, but they are not the fault of the form of government itself, but are the fault of the people - the elected, appointed and employed people who bring their politics, personal choices, prejudices and shortcomings to the tasks of governing.

The closing lines of the preamble to the Constitution of the United States read, “… and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our prosperity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.”

The preamble didn’t claim to ordain the creation of the penultimate “perfect Union,” but only, “a more perfect union.”

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In a few days, we will celebrate Christmas. Both Thanksgiving and Christmas have religious and secular roots, but Christmas has far deeper religious roots that are continually being co-opted and replaced by secular concerns and practices.

Justice Antonin Scalia noted that greed is the cardinal sin of capitalism. He certainly hit that nail squarely on the head.

“Black Friday” used to be the day after Thanksgiving and was one of the heaviest (and most profitable) shopping days of the year. This year, there were “Black” sales long before many of us had even bought a turkey for dinner, and both the in-store and online sales after Thanksgiving did not meet expectations.

That still hasn’t slowed down the manufacturers and retailers with their advertising for the ultimate gift for loved ones.

At least we have a strong sense of freedom of religion due to our Constitution. We just have to guard that zealously because of the people I mentioned in the third paragraph above.

What Christians have known for centuries is that the birth of Christ was the ultimate gift for mankind. Whatever gifts we give each other in physical form may only have value as long as we possess them or as long as we live.

I am not knowledgeable enough or skilled enough to fully explain the complete and deep theological reasons for the assertion that the birth of Christ signaled the redemption of humanity. I do accept and believe that this life involves an unbelievably short time in the physical world where how we live and what we do determines the location of eternity in the spiritual world.

Before He was crucified because He represented a major threat to the power structure of His day, Christ gave us two commandments - love God and love one another. Not romantic or brotherly love, but a love that simply wishes the good of all others as others.

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If we did that, conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans, Trump voters and never-Trumpers, Blacks and whites, rich and poor, Muslim and Jew, man and woman, and so many of the other defined divisions in our country and world would soon disappear.

I am praying that you have a merry Christmas and a blessed, prosperous and COVID-19-free 2022!

That’s the way I see it.

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