|1 John 4:11-18
Psalm 72:1-2, 10, 12-13
It's time to clear away the Christmas cards that have come to my house since early December. For four decades I've been exchanging cards, and this year I asked myself, is this exchange getting to be only a matter of habit?
Because of distance, I have not seen some of these friends for twenty
years or more, and I must confess that I have not used all the wonderful
telephone bargains advertised on television which are supposed to keep
us "in touch" with our friends. If I were to be reunited with these
people, would we really still have anything in common? When I last
saw some of them, their children were infants; today those children are
adults. Once we were young marrieds, new in our careers, with low
salaries and mountains of bills. Today those early financial struggles
are past, and some of the friends are actually affluent. Once I knew
their favorite sports, favorite restaurants, their choices among movies,
automobiles and 33 r.p.m. records. Today I know nothing about the
small details of their daily lives. And yet we still write as though
we were friends.
I know that in their distant towns they are still caring for their
maturing children, their elderly parents, or for the poor and weak and
rejected in their own communities in ways I cannot precisely describe.
Some themselves may be accepting care from those in whom the love of God
is finding its perfection. Is this not reason enough to send
them Christmas greetings?
Today's Gospel tells of the disciples helpless on a stormy lake.
Some of us may be surprised that the passage includes the words "He meant
to pass them by." But Jesus was there to answer their cries for help.
This too makes me think of my Christmas friends, those dear ones separated
from me by many years and many miles. So many of them, I know, are
answering others' cries for help. My faith in God, therefore, renews
my faith in them, and my faith in them strengthens my faith in Him.
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