Community Editorial Board: What Comes After Christmas Story?

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Tomorrow is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

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A day now more tied to a celebration of giveaways and family reunions, even though COVID-19 has narrowed them down to online shopping and Zoom holiday cocktails.
At the heart of the story, and often used by the priest during family mass in a Catholic church, is the birth of the son of God to a young woman in a barn, surrounded by farm animals and her husband. much older who is stepfather of this newcomer.

The birth of the baby is welcomed first by the shepherds following a star before the kings who come to bring gifts. It’s a perfect postcard.

In a few weeks, this small family must flee to find safety because they learned that their baby was threatened with being assassinated by direct order of the king in power. Moral guiding themes flow from this Bethlehem-based story that has instructed Christians over the centuries to accept the wonder of a birth of the Savior in a manger.

What if this Christmas we focus on “what follows”, using the language of the threat of attack on a family, the violence and upheaval it creates on the most innocent? This story of a birth uttered by trumpeting angels immediately turns into humanity’s worst imperfections of hate, fear and power.
The focus of violence has been in the news this year. We’ve been locked in with some of our worst human traits and it plays out daily in catchy and disturbing titles. We are victims of the inability to do anything but read the news from the confines of our phones. We may be becoming desensitized.

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In these times of pandemic, what does it mean to be a good citizen, a member of a faith community, a parent, an aunt or uncle, or a neighbor? These are questions worth considering when we take a day to celebrate the birth of a child over 2,000 years ago.

The 25th e of December should not be simply the organization of our purchases under a Christmas tree illuminated with lights which symbolically add to the feast of the 19 e century. Every facet of Christmas history and celebration is part of ancient solstice practices, where light and hope are brought to the fore in our human psyche in the darkest days.

What if we look at those darker days for families who have been abused, live in fear and are now housed in indescribable homes that provide safety against the angry acts of a family member from their unknown depths of rage? How to come together around this story of hope, without thinking of those who face the horrors of what would be the next stage in the history of Christ, the flight into Egypt?

Reports from the national police, the United Nations on global data on domestic violence, and local shelters all point to spikes in domestic violence or gender-based violence during the pandemic. This Christmas, if we could all recognize our duty to replace hate with love, anger with patience, and ignorance with tolerance, it could be our gift of hope to those directly affected by these statistics.

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Actively practicing our best selves each day will go a long way in restoring the family a place of unity and security for every child and parent – our community depends on it.

This Christmas, let’s not pretend to be the innocent bystander of the easier story of a nativity scene.

This Christmas, let’s tap into the moral direction of the story that builds empathy, compassion, and concern for humanity as violence takes hold. Let’s take a look at our family, friends and community and pay attention to the signs of domestic violence before it takes hold of all that is good and innocent.

Think of mothers like Ashley Thompson and her family this Christmas time. If you can, help and support organizations that protect families from violence and also help people with mental health issues, addictions, and their own personal trauma that can lead to violence.

We all need to know that our home is a safe place for a Christmas tree to stand and a sweet story of a baby in a nursery will offer hope.

Merry Christmas and peace for 2022.

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