Wednesday, October 31, 2012
God, Politics and Santa Claus
Friends of Faith:I figured if we were tired of politics, it must be time for Santa Claus.
I learned several important lessons growing up: God is everywhere and knows everything (and so is Santa Claus.)With God all things are possible (Mk 10:27): and if you don’t believe (in God or Santa Claus)—you won’t receive (heaven or presents.)
And in order to prove that you believe, you must DO (work hard) for what you believe—hard work, I thought, especially as a little girl; but even harder work, I have realized, as I have grown up.“You know the commandments.” (Mk 10:18-19) A clear set of common sense rules to live by. A clear reward if we choose to live by them. And a clear punishment if we don’t: it probably isn’t a coincidence that a lump of coal could easily symbolize the fires of hell.
As a little person, the choices didn’t really seem that difficult, or even that tough. I had to work (and play) within the boundaries my parents, and God, as our Father, set—to receive what is most important for every little child—their parent’s (and the promise of God’s) love.It was always Christmastime at our house—the Christmas of love, as a child the equivalent of Santa love, as I grew older the knowledge that I am always loved. Love had both a long memory, and much forgiveness—just like the love I more and more grow to desire from God.
Back then, I didn’t know it, but everything I did was a choice—a choice of choosing between rights. Mom and Dad’s commandments were pretty clear (and very much in line with God’s commandments). If we disobeyed we had to ask both their forgiveness (and do a penance for them) and do something for God (an extra prayer, often asking God’s forgiveness thru confession.) It was a great life lesson, both because we knew our boundaries and because we learned the discipline and hard work of choosing right truths.I did have a choice, but when I chose to disobey, to take the easier way out, or to choose what seemed like more fun, or less work, I also had to face the consequences of that wrong choice (sin). And the pain of those poor choices was much more difficult than the work of right ones.
Santa Claus love, represented my parent’s love, and like God’s love, always won out in the end.As an adult, the choices may seem more difficult, but our eternal parent, God, is just as clear with his commandments, His rules, His disciplines, His boundaries and His promise of love.
God’s consequences are much bigger than my parent’s consequences. Almost as if, growing up, means I have to grow up to a higher standard—God. The choice is no longer for Santa Claus presents, the choice is now for eternal presents. And life keeps getting shorter, because thru the reality of living I now realize that our time here on earth isn’t forever—in fact, it isn’t even my choice—it could be over in a second and when it is over, I will no longer have the opportunity to choose: in God, politics or Santa Claus gifts and rights.Maybe that is what God means by saying he is the power over principalities (Eph 6) and the reason he gives us the hope that regardless of what the principalities do he is always in control and the final judge. (Lk 12:1-7)
The commandments: A clear set of common sense rules to live by. A clear reward if we choose to live by them.And the political ads are like the Christmas ads growing up – Santa Claus ads which showed what would happen (toys or a lump of coal) (heaven or earth) if I didn’t/don’t work for the right beliefs and choices. (Choosing right was and always will require money, work and difficult discipline—they won’t be easy or free!!)
Someone said to me this week that the political ads looked like an ad for the Catholic/Christian Church.I can’t and won’t disagree: We are being asked to choose: to give up money, for work and to be disciplined: to choose God’s design for marriage, protection for life, and obedience to Him vs. lifestyles of promiscuity, greed, homosexuality, abortion (murder) and the freedom to choose these wrong and sinful behaviors. (Gal 5:18-25)
And these right choices may mean we have to work harder and sacrifice here on earth to receive what we desire of God, heaven, just as we worked for, and sacrificed for, our parents and God when we were younger, so that we can always receive what each of them promised: a Santa type present—only received because we believed, and because we acted as if we believed. (Gal 5:1-6)The freedom to choose is only a right when we are obeying God’s laws. “The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may know that we are in union with him: whoever claims to abide in him ought to live [just] as he lived.” (1Jn 2: 3-6)
God is very clear on both the commandments and the consequences. Who will we obey, who will we choose—in the politics of both heaven and earth?Heavenly Father, your gifts are far greater than any we have ever received from Santa Claus. Help us to do the hard work you require in our vocations (marriage, celibate, or single), in our families and in our choices for you. Thank you for your forgiving and ever “present” love. Amen.
If we believe in God, all things are possible. Make them possible this week,Blessings,