Written by Ginny and Fred Karnas

ScriptureYou were baptized into union with Christ, and now you are clothed, so to speak with the life of Christ himself.  So there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free men, between men and women; you are all one in union with Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:27-28

MeditationSimeon and Anna, the shepherds, the Magi….an eclectic collection of visitors to the young Jesus, but in their differences of class, gender and maybe even race, they shared a single purpose …they sought to be closer to God’s love, to understand His ways and His plan for their lives.  As we journey to Christmas, we should celebrate all those who journey with us, especially those who are different from us, and through those differences help us to see the face of God.

It was another steamy summer morning in inner-city Norfolk, Virginia when Steve opened the doors of the small Methodist church and welcomed the children of this vibrant, yet struggling, African American neighborhood to the daily recreation program.  As the children shuffled, bumped and sped their way in, I stood there watching with my five summer mission teammates.  I was just shy of my 21st birthday and yet I marveled at the exuberance of the youngsters.  That morning would proceed like most of the others that summer, a cacophony of laughs and cries mixed with the stickiness of lemonade spills and Elmer’s glue excesses.  Just before lunchtime, as I sat outside watching a game of kickball, the littlest of all the children, Joellyn, climbed into my lap and began to run her fingers through my hair.  After a couple of minutes of research, the four-year old exclaimed, “You have baby hair.”  

In a moment she was off and running once again and I was left to ponder the meaning of the differences God created in each of us.  I suppose Joellyn was referring to the way my hair felt compared to the hair texture of the African American adults with whom she spent most of her time.  In the many years that have ensued since that moment I have come to see beauty in our differences as they teach each of us a little more about what it means to be made in the image of God, and give us a greater understanding of the breadth of His love.  I am reminded of the beautiful Christmas song which helps us understand how the baby Jesus is seen through the eyes of children around the world.

Some children see Him lily white,

 the baby Jesus born this night.

Some children see Him lily white

 with tresses soft and fair.

Some children see him bronzed and brown,

 the Lord of heaven to earth come down.

Some children see Him bronzed and brown

 with dark and heavy hair.

Some children see Him almond eyed,

 the Baby whom we kneel beside. 

Some children see Him almond eyed

 with skin of yellow hue.

Some children see Him dark as they, 

 sweet Mary’s Son to whom we pray.

Some children see Him dark as they, 

 and ah they love Him too.

The children in each different place 

 will see the baby Jesus’ face

 like theirs, but bright with heavenly grace

 and filled with holy light.

Prayer:    Lord, this Christmas season help us to celebrate Your Kingdom.  Help us to recognize that in our differences we can learn a little more about Your love and Your plan for all of us.  Amen.

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