As a very political person, I see the resemblance on Capitol Hill between those who want to give Insurance Company Scrooge all the wealth they can dream of and make the dream of affordable health care for the rest of us just that -- a dream.
And as usual, the very influential conservative religious base sides with the very wealthy and the powerful, claiming that it is God's will somehow that government not intervene to rectify an injustice. Like the Pharisees, they make loud prayers making sure they are heard of men and they talk a lot about bringing the nation back to righteousness. Loud talk, and little action.
It strikes me as significant that these people who are so fervent about "righteousness" for the nation are not so much about themselves. There is a lot of money passing hands in the halls of power in opposition to this health legislation, and former preachers and religious leaders don't hesitate to tell lies about it. Does God approve of lying to promote righteousness?
Which is why, it seems, that when Christ came, he was not born in Herod's Palace Hospital. Christ did not come to the Conservatives. In fact, in every aspect of Jesus' ministry, He poked at the Conservatives of His Day for their hypocritical positions. Their positions were always self-serving. They would gladly criticize others for their faults, but they effectively had none of their own.
Christmas is a time for self-reflection. It is a time to understand that we all are in need of real help and righteousness. What was the promise of the angel to Joseph?
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20b-21.
That Child, born in lowly circumstances far away from positions of power, came on a mission. He came to save His people, including me, from their sins. He didn't come so that I could save you from your sins while ignoring my own, or to save you from your sins by legislating against them, or to save you from your sins by favoring the rich against the poor.
He came to save us from our sins by living with the poorest of us, healing us of our sicknesses (a Tangent Line for another Time!), teaching us how to live and treat others -- even under adverse circumstances, and finally, by giving his life for us.
At the end of His life, the Scriptures tell us, The Conservatives used Town Hall tactics to provoke the people into shouting down Pilate against this wonderful Healer of Men (who did it without charge and against the rules laid down by the high muk a muks) -- "Crucify Him! We will not have this man to reign over us!" The Self-Righteous suborned perjury against Him, mocked Him, and had Him put to death.
And that might well have been the end of the matter -- at least they hoped so. But who except the scholars remembers any of their names or what they did?
The Christ Child? He IS remembered, at Christmas in His Birth, and at Easter in His Death and Resurrection. I confess my love for a Savior, Christ the Lord. Come to save me from my sins even now! Come to heal me, to teach me, to love me and give Himself for me. Such an attitude! Such grace! And what a contrast to the religiosity of the day!
So, when all the "takers" in this world begin to get you down, think of the Christ child - the Giver. And Merry Christmas.