In the headlines on Christmas Eve 2014, we see executed NYPD police officers, and protesters in New York City who surround those mourning these slain officers and call for the heads of more police. We also see an African-American suspect in St. Louis County who drew his weapon against a police officer and found himself shot by that same police officer. I haven’t seen racial tensions in the U.S. this high in my lifetime.
In my stepfather’s house last night, there were black, white and interracial families from the Carolinas and a Messianic Jew from Texas gather to sing Christmas carols. But I don’t really think anyone here last night noticed skin color, region or creed. We had all gathered in the Spirit of Messiah to celebrate the birth of Christ. All we saw were fellow believers. The Apostle Sha’ul (Paul) wrote that in Messiah (Christ) there is neither Jew, nor Greek, nor Barbarian, neither slave, nor freeman. I think we saw this among our gathering last evening. There weren’t any 1% or 99%. There weren’t any black or white, westerners or southerners, educated or without letters. All we saw were others who gathered the celebrate the birth of the Son of G-d. There was no racial tension, nor class strife. At all.
We assessed each other not by the quality of our coats, nor manner of speech, nor size of car, nor color of skin, but by the content of our character. At least in one house last night, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous ‘I have a dream speech’ found fulfilment It didn’t take a huge government agency with thousands of pages of regulations. It didn’t take people gritting their teeth and biting back hurtful remarks. It didn’t take self-proclaimed advocates leading chants for “answers” or “justice.” All it took was a hand full of folks who’d opened their hearts up to the Spirit of G-d.
In at least one house last night, we found a little bit of Peace on Earth and Goodwill among men and women while honoring the Prince of Peace.