In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
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I heard an report yesterday that there has been discovered a spike in the deaths of American people in their 40's and 50's with high school education or less. Some of the death spike was attributed to a quick suicidal decision, but more due to the slower forms of life-denying behaviors of substance abuse, poor nutrition, poor health care habits. They are within that first generation which never achieved the dream of living better than their parents. Their employment options are more limited and unsatisfying. Among them, there is much despair and anger. Those who blame themselves sink into an abyss. Those who blame others rage in silent screaming in the night. I ache at this. I hardly know what to say. But there is within me a child who raises her hand at the question, "Who would like to be the angel in the Christmas play?"
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Holy God, use our voice to bring good news of great joy. Amen.