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Monday, December 26, 2016

On point

The Messiah’s message has been twisted beyond recognition: Coren

Please believe me when I say the person whose birth we are about to commemorate would not deny climate change, would not build walls, would not obsess about procreation, and would not condemn you for who you loved.
The first time I visited Bethlehem I thought I was going to die. Leaving the town where Jesus was born to re-enter Israel, I waited at the security checkpoint for the bored-looking soldier to check me through. In front of me was an elderly Palestinian man with his young grandson. There was a problem with their papers and the grandfather noisily tried to explain the situation. He then motioned to the child at his side, who lifted up his shirt to reveal a package clumsily taped to his belly. This was at the height of the time of suicide bombings and all I could think was that this was such a surreal way and place to die.
The appendage was actually a colostomy bag, and the boy had an urgent appointment at an Israeli hospital. He was allowed through, and taken to be cared for and looked after.
An hour later I sat in my Jerusalem hotel room and suddenly burst into tears. Not out of fear, I think, but out of despair. Salt-stained, sorrow-stained, pain-stained despair that in Bethlehem, where I believe that the great conduit of grace came into this world, so much suffering and confusion could still breathe and flourish. And not only in Bethlehem of course, but throughout the entire world; and the shadows of cruelty and suffering often appear not to be diminishing but positively growing in their clawing darkness.
How, then, can I still believe in a loving God and how can I be convinced that Jesus is His Son and that there is a greater and higher truth? How can I be convinced this Christmas, and at every other time, that love is the great power and that a baby born to a poor family in an occupied land 2,000 years ago opened a great door to eternal happiness and completion?

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