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Can a red cup represent Christmas? I fully believe that it can, especially if it is a red chalice bearing the cross of St. Andrew. Our chalice reminds us of the centrality of communion in our lives and worship, and the cross of St. Andrew reminds us of the Scottish heritage of our founders. The celebration of the birth of Christ is not about snowflakes, or what we call a decorated tree, but rather the acknowledgement of our responsibility to care for the infant Jesus we see in every person we meet.

It is not about spending a lot of money buying things that we don’t need and may not even want. It is about caring for those who are lost, wandering the world, seeking for shelter and loving grace. Christmas tells the story of a family seeking shelter so that a birth may occur. The best that could be provided was the shelter of a stable or small barn, the feed trough as a bed for an infant. We erect our Nativity Scenes in our homes and churches and on our lawns. We look with glistening eyes upon live Nativity Scenes put on in our communities.

In contrast, we fail to see the homeless people sleeping on the street. Some of these homeless have served their nation in the military and have been cast aside due to the stress they encountered during that service. Some are people from war torn areas seeking safety; some are fleeing to a place of hope for a better life. We love to look at the Nativity scene. We don’t want to notice these others seeking for a bit of comfort and shelter.

I am aware of the concern and fear, especially regarding the refugees from Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. There are always those who will seek the easiest path to what they perceive as power and control. There may be some who are not good people. But if we never meet them, how can we tell? If we don’t care for them, how can we convert them from enemies into friends? Jesus taught through his actions to love those that most push aside, so we should care for those who are despised in order to heal those that most won’t even acknowledge.

Celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior this month. Celebrate less with arguments about cups and names and more with love and grace; the same love and grace that the babe whose birth we celebrate showed us when we were of no account. Love your God with all your strength, all mind and with all your spirit, and love your neighbor as yourself. May you have a blessed Christmas and may you be a blessing this Christmas to someone in your community.

Shalom, Darrell