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Finding Faith: A Christmas to unite

By STEVE SALMON

I had a friend who didn’t have a sidewalk in front of his house. It was becoming a problem because he was getting older and it was hard for him to walk on the uneven ground. He used to complain about it a lot until someone, moved by compassion, installed a sidewalk for him free of charge. What a great surprise. He was unenthusiastic, even a bit downcast. “Just more work when it snows,” he muttered. We’ve all known someone like that. They seem to prefer unhappiness and complaining over joy and contentment.

If a person prefers bitterness there is certainly a lot over which to take umbrage. Try to have a nice, calm intergenerational conversation about politics over your Christmas figgy pudding. It’s not just politics that divides, church doctrine and theology have strained a lot of relationships as well. As have different opinions on how to care for the poor or how to view sexuality or parenting or any other matter that elicits opinions.

Maybe this Christmas season can be an opportunity to bridge the chasms build by human foibles. After all, we are celebrating God, the creator of the universe becoming a man. That is something that can strike awe in anyone.

There is something about Christmas that touches each one’s heart. To the impoverished and disenfranchised the Christ child brings security and citizenship in the eternal Kingdom. The selfish are reminded that God gave his son. The wealthy and influential are reminded that at least one poor blue-collar family had more to offer than needs to be met. The homeless and the palatially housed can see that there was a day when kings and angels and shepherds all drawn by the same baby moved toward one another.

This season let’s put politics, the finer points of doctrine and whatever else may divide us aside to celebrate God become man. That is good news of great joy that brings peace to the greatest and the least.

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Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Rev. Steve Salmon, pastor of First Church of Christ, Lock Haven.

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