Dear Partners in Green,
December is a month of joy, yet it can also be a month of challenge for us who are attempting to break old habits and set new patterns in pursuit of a healthy planet.
Maybe the most important thing is to simply remind ourselves that the holiday season is all about love. How best can we let our friends and family know that we love them without contributing to the climate crisis?
There are a number of things to take into consideration this month. I am simply going to name a few and leave it up to you to research and choose for yourself which you deem the most environmentally friendly.
The first is the use of Amazon.com. and concerns regarding over-packaging, one day delivery and the effect of these on the environment.
Another is your Christmas tree, real versus artificial. Are artificial trees really more environmentally friendly?
And then there is what I believe to be the most important question. What gifts should we give, both to show friends and family how dear they are to us and to demonstrate how seriously we take the Climate Crisis.
A few challenges I give to you this season:
Plan ahead to avoid frantic last minute shopping and shipping,
- Consider shopping in second-hand stores.
- Pull out the flour, sugar and spices and bake a gift of love wrapped in a bow.
- Give gifts of experiences such as movie tickets, museums passes or concert tickets, or provide a service, such a snow shoveling or babysitting. Use your imagination.
- Do not buy gifts made of plastic or synthetic fibers. (Unless they were found in a second-hand store.)
- When possible shop locally.
- Invest in renewable energy.
Be creative. Make your gifts both memorable and earth -friendly. Indeed, they will be gifts of love not just to your family and friends, but to the beautiful planet on which you live.
And now a Christmas message for those of us in need of some good news, not just for ministers in need of inspiration for a Christmas message. The following is one from David Lose, the senior pastor of Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, formerly the president of The Lutheran Theological, In this he reminds us that the message can be very simple, because the Christmas message itself is very simple:
“God came from heaven to take on our human form to show us just how much God loves us. That’s pretty much it. Well, maybe there’s a little more, but that’s pretty much the core. When God surveyed humanity and realized how dark and difficult our days could be, how confused we get about our identity and place, how many painful things we do to each other out of that confusion and insecurity, God decided to do something about it. And so after giving the law and sending the prophets, God got involved. Personally, intimately involved with God’s fallen creation.
But, when God decided to get personally involved, God didn’t come to punish, or frighten, or scold, or threaten, or any of the other things that are often attributed to God (sometimes even by people in the church!). Instead, God came to tell us that we are loved, deeply, truly, and forever.
And just to make sure we got the point, God first brought that message embodied in the flesh by Jesus to people the world was pretty sure weren’t particularly important or, for that matter, loved: no account shepherds, an unwed teenage mom, astrologers practicing a whole different religion. All of this to show that God wasn’t going to leave anyone behind. That God’s message of love was for all. As in everyone, whether the world thought you were important or lovable or not. And that’s still the way it is. God loves all of us.”*
And I add, God loves all of us even as we desecrate God’s created world, the world that God saw was very good (Gen 1:31), the world over which humankind was to have dominion. The proper exercise of dominion yields shalom – the flourishing of all creation. This is a far cry from dominion as domination. But even though we failed, we are still loved and it is with that love that we can find the strength and the courage to right the wrongs and take our place as worthy stewards.
You can’t get a Christmas message much simpler than that.
I leave you with this song by Lennie Gallant, Christmas on Planet Earth.
Thank you for being on this journey.
Till next time,
*In the Meantime, Christmas Eve/Day C/ Keep it Simple. Posted by DJL on Oct 25,2019