The mayor of Bethleham is pleased that all the hotel rooms are filled in that town where Jesus the Christ was born centuries ago. And, believers, are perhaps, even more glad to ring in "peace on earth goodwill toward all" in this time of national discord, school massacres, and more.
Although the economy is bad there in the Little Town of Bethleham, also, the first female mayor, is upbeat according to reports.
While, elsewhere, and, especially here in metropolitan Detroit, everyone wants in on a good party, it seems. Amid the heartache and desolation, the calming consolation of "Silent Night" sings out in churches across the universeral Catholic world, along with other Christian edifaces.
"Hark the Herald Angel Sing" resounds with vibrant voices of hope-filled victory over vice, sin, guns, and, other weapons of mass destruction. How I long for this peace, even if for a moment in time!
Welcome aboard Jewish, among other faith tradition, including Muslims and their love of Mary.
A Huntington Woods, Michigan rabbi was wrapping gifts the other day when we talked on the phone about the January 21st observance of the birth of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with an 8:30 am breakfast and service at Unity Temple near Palmer Park and McNichols and west of the Woodward Avenue area in Detroit. She steers the Detroit Interfaith Outreach Network (DION), an intra and inter-faith coalition of diverse clergy, among other various faithful of all faith traditions, who aim to lift up Detroit and its young people, accoridng to DION's mission.
Saying "Merry Christmas," is a greeting that many of my acquantances who are leaders of Jewish, Christian, Muslims, and more, repeat with a reverential respect these days leading up to tomorrow, Christmas Eve, the day before the observance of the Nativity, the anniversary celebration of Jesus' simple and humble birth by way of a maiden who "did not know man." Talk about town tongues wagging about that mystery when Jesus seemed to quietly sneak into our reality, thanks be to God!
What is observed seems to fulfill prophetic and Bible beliefs about one who is to come to make straight the way.
At 10 pm Mass at Saint Thecla Chuurch on Nunelly near Groesbeck and Metropolitan Parkway in Clinton Township on Christmas Eve, deep feelings of faith will reverberate within me as I lead Christ's Mass, meaning, Christmas, there amid the faithful, and, in Hamtramck, MI., at 12 noon at Our Lady Queen of Apostles Church on Conant, north of Caniff on December 25th.
Little else thrills pastors more than serving parishioners these high, holy days.
A diverse population of accents will ascend into the Romanesque Hamtramck ediface with middle easterners and southern Asians, in what is, perhaps, the most enthnically diverse town in America where immigrants migrated to work at the Dodge automobile plant in this town the size of Harrison Twonship, where I reside.
Bells will ring as incense rises like smoke to fill the olfactory nerves of one's nose amid choir voices singing out "Ave Maria," and more. At the table of the Word, and, the altar of sacrifice, both feeding troughs like the crib of Jesus, the faith will flock, and, be fed. Later, parents, will present their youngsters, the size of the kindergarteners in Newtown, CT., to the Christmas crib of shepherds, angels, Magi and more.
For a brief moment in time, all will be calm and bright, perhaps, in a declared and respected cease fire filling the air in that ancient part of our world where many believe forgiveness, peace and healing was originally born.
Light shines. And, a star is born.
I'll pray that we heed the plea of this new-born King, this Jesus who is "the way, the truth and life," that is not a metaphor, but a reality, yet to guide and grip us in a firm embrace.
Following that, my family will feast on turkey, ham, and, a hearty meal. Stories will be shared.
And, some oplatek, a thin wafer of bread, an ancient Polish practice, will be broken as we greet one another with "Merry Christmas" that runs through mid-January, 2013.