Today’s Bible reading

Read Luke 3:1-11

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
    every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
    the rough ways smooth.
And all people will see God’s salvation.’”
–Luke 3:4-6

More thoughts for meditation

John the Baptist and Santa are not friends. Santa is not real, so don’t throw any shade John’s way because he isn’t a good Christian by not being nice. But the myth of Santa is real enough. His elves are currently making your kids another piece of plastic that they really want to play with for a few days, then lose all the pieces, then put away in a drawer, and then cry when you want to give it away at the Baby Goods eXchange. If you don’t have your own kids, you probably know this story from the kids in our community or from your own memory. No shade for the joy of those few days, though. The myth of Santa can be redeemed, especially if it coexists with the letting go that John exhorted his listeners to do.

“What should we do then?” the people who responded to John’s call for repentance asked John the Baptist.

John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

This is the simple way that God is making level and smooth the paths we need to see God’s salvation. Saint Nicholas, one of the better, truer roots from which Santa grew is definitely friends with John the Baptist. Nicholas, who gave gifts to the poor and led the church in the fourth century in Turkey got the message from John, confirmed by Jesus, that to see salvation we must share–we must let go.

The mutuality system we build together in Circle of Hope is founded on trust. We trust that where good has been given it is for all. Everything we have received has been given by the Good Father who gives all things. We can trust that what’s mine is not really mine. When we let go, we can trust God to give us more when we need it. 

The calculus and debt associated with Christmas must be denounced. We must build the alternative in practical ways. A culture of sharing is desperately needed for us who live in the valleys of consumer accumulation.

Suggestions for action

Let us acknowledge the way we are friends with the wisdom of holding-on and sometimes even hoarding. Our basic instincts are often calling us from somewhere other than John’s wilderness. The world is abundant because God made it that way. There are enough shirts to go around, but we have trouble sharing them. Of course, “shirts” is a metaphor for most of us. Find something that would be hard for you to let go of. Is it really yours. how can you, symbolically or actually, let go? Where is scarcity thinking creeping across your path? It might block your view of salvation. Consider this and ask God how you need to respond.

Pray: Lord, may I share from the Abundance. Everything you have is mine, and everything I have is yours.

Today is Thomas Merton Day! Learn about this great popularizer of Christian Contemplation of the 20th century at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body