Monday Musings for December 18, 2017
The Christmas story and the news of the day never fail to intersect. This happened in a shockingly heartbreaking way in 2012 with the mass murder of children at Sandy Hook Elementary. King Herod committed a similarly horrible crime 2000 years ago.
This year we have a major change in our tax code passed and signed into law the very week we talk about the long ago trip to Bethlehem. Why did Mary and Joseph go? To pay their taxes.
Yesterday in worship I was aware of another connection between our day and that day.
Carleen Schnitker, principal of Union High School was talking to us about the unique mission of their school. She mentioned their daycare center and that they have 25 teen moms as students.
Later in the service, we saw a video (linked below) with the Christmas story as told by children. The angel tells Mary she is going to have a baby. She responds, “I’m not going to have a baby! I’m only a teenager and I’m not married!”
I remember the scandal when I was in high school. John and DeeDee were high school sweethearts. They were senior and freshman, respectively. Then, suddenly, DeeDee was gone. The rumor was that she was — the word was one we were uncomfortable using back then — pregnant.
John was part of our United Methodist Youth Fellowship, though he didn’t come very often. His family was part of our church. I was aware that our pastor was counseling with the couple and their parents and that the decision was reached that John and DeeDee would get married. I’m pretty sure they did, but I don’t remember DeeDee ever coming back to school. The details are fuzzy in my brain, partly because it was so long ago and partly because the whole situation was so “hush hush”.
DeeDee would have been welcomed at Union High. So would many others who were classmates of mine, who for various reasons, just didn’t thrive in the environment of a traditional high school. I wonder what became of them. I’m guessing their lives have been much harder than they needed to have been.
I am very proud that our church for several years now has given our entire Christmas offering away to others (Christmas Eve and all special gifts so designated). The recipients in past years have been Sherman Elementary, Imagine No Malaria, and Boys and Girls Club of Nampa. Each year you have been very generous. This year we are privileged to support Union High in their unique mission.
We are working with them on how the money will be used. The long list of needs I have been sent includes baby formula and diapers.
Another connection, between then and now: Remember the gifts the wise men brought to baby Jesus? Thus gift giving is part of our Christmas celebration. We give gifts to each other, but in the Bible the gifts were given to Jesus.
How do we give a gift to Jesus?
“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).