• Patricia H. Arnazzi

MERRY CHRISTMAS! FELIZ NAVIDAD! BUON NATALE! JOYEUX NOEL! SHENG DAN KUAI LE!


Aleppo, Holocaust, World misery, all around us people are suffering. Physically,

emotionally, spiritually, mentally, the world inhabitants suffer every day.

Some of our suffering is the consequence of our own wrong choices, but some

of us suffer for the bad actions of others. The pain that comes to our lives unexpectedly,

without any wrongdoing on our part to merit it, just because we exist in a fallen world,

is the hardest to understand, and to accept. It is the kind of pain which makes us feel

we are right to become angry and, like a wounded animal, think of retaliation. Especially

against God.

The son of a dear friend of mine recently asked, “ What does God do when a little girl

is being raped?” He used that question as a justification for his denial of God’s

existence. He is in pain, he is fearful and he is angry.

Like him, there are many around the world who voice the same doubts, who feel just as

sick when forced to witness the evil humans inflict upon its kind.

In this day and season, when believers around the world prepare to celebrate the birth

of a Savior with feasts and family reunions, others worry about survival, others suffer

agony of unimaginable dimensions, others merely ask, until when?

Our nation, the world and, in some instances, even our homes, are divided. The

polarization between good and evil is more evident every day. How do we respond to

our brother’s pain is where we prove the strength of our convictions. Are we willing to

be part of the solution or do we merely blame others for the suffering all around us?

Do we leave our comfort zones and put the pedal to the metal? Do we give of our

time, our money, our talents, our service to others, or do we only ask why things are

as they are?

The daughter of another dear friend spent more than a year teaching English to

refugees in a war torn country; one of my own nieces has spent time building houses for

Habitat around the world; one of my cousins travels all around championing the

cause of women’s rights and fights for equality. All of these women do so at great

sacrifices, and they do it because they care.

Caring is, therefore, the difference. The adjective implies warmth, compassion, love,

kindness. Empathy is feeling what others feel, but I like caring better, because caring

is responsive, is an adjective which insinuates action.

Believing in God will not save me, nor anyone else, if that belief is not accompanied

by deeds. Believing in God will not change the world I live in, if I do not step up

and love His children enough to act. Believing in God and His power will not do me

any good if I am not His arm of salvation. And because the greatest gift He bestowed

upon all of His children before we even came into this world is our freedom to choose,

He expects us to choose wisely. He will deal with those who choose evil in His time and

we will all suffer the consequences of our wrongdoing sooner or later. When will that be,

or how, should not be our concern now, but how will our own choices fare on that

last day. What did we do with the resources given to us? How did we use the

blessings we enjoy and others only dream of? What were we willing to do for our

brothers or sisters who are different? Were we His agents for mercy, destruction or

simply neglect? Make no mistake about it, God weeps like good people around the

world do when a little girl is being raped. And His justice is real. But, right now, He

expects those of us who see the wrong to right it. And to do it without anger or

vengeance.

On this day, when Christians all around prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, our

Savior and Redeemer, the only Begotten Son of God, and the only one Who obeyed

Him perfectly throughout His mortal life, I pray we spend it being more caring and

willing to act. I pray that tonight as you gather your family for dinner make a plan to

feed your neighbor on Monday, that tomorrow as you watch your children opening gifts

you make a resolution to act on behalf of those who are suffering today.

Only then, we will live to the proclamation of angels as recorded in the King James

Bible, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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