Christmas 2014 – The Jews and the Christians

When Christmas time comes to our South Florida area there are two things for which I give God thanks. The first is to thank God that 2014 is the ninth year in a row without hurricanes hitting South Florida. The second is that we continue using our salt to spread around our margaritas and not on trucks to spread on our streets to get rid of our snow.

Now, that doesn’t mean that we live in complete paradise. Just take a look at I-95 with its eternal delays or not having a sports team that can win any competitions. The fact remains that our kids are growing in a place that won’t require them to bundle up and our economy seems to be improving.

The most important joy at this time is for Christians and Jews to be able to celebrate our religious traditions. The joy of Christmas and Hanukah are part of who we are in South Florida and we are able to rejoice with our families in our churches and temples.

Among the most conservative in our midst, we are also reminded that we need to keep Christ in Christmas. I imagine this is a campaign to do away with the “Happy Holidays” culture that we have developed trying not to offend persons celebrating other religious traditions.

Never underestimate the power of Macy’s.

As a Christian I am all for keeping Christ in Christmas but I have no need to offend our many Jewish neighbors and those of the Muslim or Hindu faith that are now very much a part of the world we live in. You may say that as Christians we were here first. You could be right if you ignore the religious traditions of Native Americans who exchanged their land for the Bible. I will also remind you all that Julia Tuttle, the Mother of Miami was an Episcopalian so maybe we all should show up at Trinity Cathedral Midnight Mass in honor of her. That will be the thing to do if you really want to go back to the Christianity that was here first.

One last thing as a reminder to all of us – if we really mean to keep Christ in Christmas let’s start acting like Christians. It’s now the time to take care of the homeless, the shut-ins, those who are in prison. As well as those who have completed their sentences and now are unable to find a job because it seems that to be a good Christian for some it means to keep the “riff-raff” far away from our mistletoe; and God forbid that they move next door. Somehow forgiveness is not necessary for some self- proclaimed believers. No need to care for those who are different from us be they gay or straight, white, black, Hispanic, Asian or any other assortment created by our God.

To keep Christ in Christmas doesn’t mean to exile my Jewish neighbor from our holiday festivities or force them to say Merry Christmas while at the same time continue spreading hate against Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs or Buddhist. If you act like that I can guarantee that Christ will not care to be near you or your hatred.

Let’s remember Jesus great commandments: Love God above all things and love your neighbor as yourself. If you do, you will definitely be keeping Christ in Christmas and at the same time you will be obeying the Old Testament Hebrew teaching that our Lord Christ was using.

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