On November 9, 1989 a most extraordinary thing happened. The Berlin Wall came down in the revolution that was sweeping communist Eastern Europe. A city and a nation were no longer divided.
Did you know this event took the US government totally by surprise? Did you know that when the dismantling of the wall began some responsible people in our military thought it was a trick by communist forces and that tanks would come pouring through the breach in this dividing line between East and West? Did you know that our military was on alert for a military attack from communist forces, possibly setting off World War III?
One soldier who was on the scene says that when the commander of his division realized that it was not a trick, that the wall was really coming down, he broke down and wept. For half a century the United States and the Soviet Union had been engaged in a resource-depleting and fear-inspiring Cold War. Suddenly it was all over!! What an amazing event!!
Yet this was a minor historical footnote compared to what happened in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. The walls between God and us human beings were shattered with the birth of the Christ-Child. The walls between Jews and Gentiles, between the rich and the poor, between black and white, brown and yellow, and between heaven and earth came tumbling down when Jesus was born in a stable.
Since Jesus was God’s own Son sent from heaven, he saw and he acted as the Father did. To God and to Jesus everyone is a respected and loved child of God. A Gentile was as good, as loving and as saved as a Jew. Jesus ate and socialized with both the rich and the poor. Did the rich man notice and care about the starving Lazarus at his doorstep? Did the poor hungry crowds hoard for themselves the loaves and fish that Jesus multiplied for them? As far as color and race, the Samaritans were more hated than any people of color or race today. Yet Jesus’ highest praise goes to the Good Samaritan and his deepest sharing is with the Samaritan woman at the well.
What walls of religious differences, what divide of the “haves” and the “have-nots” and what “Black Lives Matter”….”White Lives Matter” barricades make you the most upset? What has the birth, life and preaching of Jesus revealed to you that is different than what the know-it-all talking heads on TV tell us? Will America be forever like what Berlin was for fifty years – a divided country? Will Jesus’ coming to earth have anything to do with the outcome?
YOU CAN SLEEP IN PEACE THIS CHRISTMAS WHEN YOU REMEMBER THAT GOD IS AWAKE!