The Christmas Word

word cloudAfter I left the priesthood in 1968, I stopped paying attention to sermons. But my sister told me about a sermon that really struck her. It was a quote from John’s Gospel, “And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”

“What word?” the priest asked. “What word do we bring alive with how we live? What word to we ‘give flesh to?’

I’m no longer a priest, but now I’m a writer and words are very important to me. What word to I bring to life? What is it? Anger? I hope not. Narrow-mindedness? People who think like me, are often not respectful of conservative views. What word do I create with my life?

I know a nurse who admired her father for his integrity. She had that word tattooed on her lower left arm to remind herself to imitate her father.

What word do we live by? What word do we bring to life? Those are good questions for us. What word do I bring to life for those around me?

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4 responses to “The Christmas Word

  1. Interesting thoughts, Ed. I have been thinking a lot about integrity lately as someone I know has shown a lack of it recently so it brought that word into sharp focus for me. How does integrity ‘happen’? Is it taught to us or something that we just ‘know’.? Consideration is another one that I find somehow lacking. On the skytrain the other day an elderly man with a cane got on and the ‘young ones’ intent on their phones, just sat. I had to get up to let him sit down. I do find that young Asian men will often give me their seats. Are some parents forgetting to teach their children to be considerate?

    • Thanks, Delora. Sadly, I’ve seen the same thing on skytrain. Maybe it’s just that the young people are absorbed in their own world and they don’t see the reality around them. I’m not sure how full of integrity and compassion I was at 15. If I remember correctly, my adolescence was tortured and self-absorbed.

  2. I met many Chaplains during a 13-year bit at assorted Canadian penitentiaries. Around Christmas time one year, I asked a particular preacher-man, “What are God’s greatest commandments.” He replied, “To love God and to love your fellow man.” I followed up, “Can you tell me that you love me.” His mouth opened, yet no words fell out. I said, “I love you.” He remained silent. Years later, I sent an email to a man of faith and I signed it wrapped in a Christmas salutation, “Love & Peace.” He missed the point, maybe because I once was imprisoned, like so many of Christ’s disciples and early Christians. Integrity for me, begins with being able to love, love those around you, love your work and love writing. To you all, Love & Peace this Holiday Season, Bob.

    • I like your definition of ‘integrity’, Bob. And I know you live it, even when it costs you something.
      I often wonder what percentage of prison chaplains pay real attention to the words of Jesus. In the last prison I was in, it was one out of three.

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