What do you want most for Christmas? I don’t mean a tangible thing you can hold in your hands. I mean, what do you really want deep down inside?
Freedom from bondage?
We’re drawing near to the end of 2021. This was supposed to be the good year; the year after the terrible 2020. It wasn’t the good year. It was worse in many ways. COVID is still with us and still rampaging across the world with new variants. Political unrest continues throughout the world. No peace at home. Racial tensions continue. Our leaders continue to show just how frail and human we really are. There are no superheroes in the real world to save us from the Thanos’s of the universe.
So why is it that Christmas seems to bring so much hope? What is it about Christmas that almost redeems the rest of this year?
We can try our best to focus on magical beings like Santa and his reindeers. We can romanticize our relationships on the Hallmark channel. We can lift our glasses filled with the beverages of forgetfulness and retreat for a moment from reality. We can drown ourselves in consumerism and the latest physical thing. We can even try our best to be a part of some kind of family. But there is something transcendent and metaphysical about this season.
In ancient Europe, the evergreen tree was viewed as a source of this magical feeling of life, persistence, hope. During the harsh winters, the evergreen tree branches with their green leaves stood out against the cold, harsh white wash of winter. Bringing them into the house brought a sense of hope that spring would come and this cold, deadly embrace of icy winter would one day come to an end. And, hopefully the present day struggles would also come to an end.
The evergreen tree stood for a stubbornness against the reality of cold, ending death. It was no wonder that the tradition of the evergreen wreath and branches would one day become the Christmas tree. A tree. A thing of wood and leaves and sap whose roots reached deep into the earth for sustenance and whose leaves and limbs were designed to be narrow and hard to withstand the frozen grip of winter. It wasn’t long until that tree became a reminder of another “tree” on which a very famous man was crucified and the legacy of his life to all mankind.Read the rest of this entry
Today, I want to share with you the first chapter of a short book I hope to soon release through Amazon. The booklet tells the story of people who were present the last week of Jesus’ life. It tells stories from their point of view. And, while I have taken dramatic liberty with the stories, they are based on the real events of the Passion Week. Here, in Chapter 1 we see the Triumphant Entry on “Palm Sunday” from the viewpoint of someone who, I believe, was watching Jesus from the start of His ministry.
BY DARKNESS BOUND
“It is dark in here.” The man’s voice was shaky with fear. Good!
Saul pushed the tiny clay lamp across his wooden table toward the man. The shadows flickered and moved across the man’s bearded face. “I prefer the darkness, Benjamin.” He whispered.
Sweat ran from beneath the cloth on Benjamin’s head and he licked his lips. “I followed the man like you asked me to.”
Saul leaned into the flickering lamp light. “And, where did he go?”
“To the temple. He met with the High Council.”