Good morning dear friends and public strangers! I had been thinking all morning about the Jesus I learned about in a Baptist church as a young child. I was taught that Jesus never owned a home, he wore sandals and walked everywhere he went. He taught people to let the dead bury the dead (I think that meant the selfish, materialistic people who only cared about the present). He said to 'take up your cross and follow me.' He said to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul. (His first commandment). Then he said to love your neighbor as yourself. (His second commandment). He said it was very hard for a rich man to go to heaven because they cared more about their wealth than they did their future, or end of life.
I grew up lower-middle-class. I grew up in a church and a school where you were judged immediately by your clothes and your shoes. I grew up being shunned by most of my peers because I didn't have what they had to wear.
I guess I was a wise kid who had listened at church because I already knew they were not obeying or learning what the Jesus I had learned about had said. I did, luckily, find a few great friends. However, from elementary school through high school graduation, I went to school and church with these kids and their parents. There was definitely a division between the classes of wealthy as the ones with the most money hung out, and then there was the middle class, then there were the kids who you knew didn't have much money at all.
I was so glad to get to college and be surrounded by so many different people and the college teachers did not give a flip what part of town you lived in, or what you wore to school. It was the first time I'd ever enjoyed learning. Oh yes, I'd always made good grades, but I'm saying all that to say this: We still live in this same world. Our children still attend the same type situations at school and at most churches.
If Jesus walked into our world today, I don't think he would be worried about saying, 'Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday'. I think he would be more concerned about our attitudes and how we treat those around us. I think he would reach out and touch the hungry, the homeless, the needy children of drug addicts or worse, and the widows.
I think we are all confused. Yet as I write this I am looking at the few gifts I bought this season. My family has made sure we bought for the children, and I'm so pleased to say that my little ten year old granddaughter and her friends reached out to a little girl at school who's father has been sick, and they raised money all by themselves to get her a special doll. Now that's what would make Jesus smile.