"Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea."
People haven't changed much. Earlier in this passage, aged Elizabeth had given birth to John (to be John the Baptist) and her neighbors were hanging over their fences talking about the mysterious circumstances of Baby John's birth. Can you imagine the tongues wagging? And, in the movie I mentioned yesterday, The Nativity Story, there is a part when Joseph takes the very pregnant Mary as his wife and they begin their life together. It shows their neighbors shunning them and whispering behind their backs. As Joseph and Mary set out for Bethlehem, they pass by the tsk-tsking neighbors. "They're going to miss us," Joseph says wryly. People haven't changed. Unfortunately. Pope Francis calls it the "terrorism of gossip." That seems harsh, doesn't it? But how harsh does he have to be to get people to stop disparaging each other with gossip? We see it everywhere we look, so how can we stop it? It's far too easy to fall into the habit of clucking about others. It makes us feel better about ourselves, doesn't it? And who can't use a little bit of that? If we knew how truly harmful it can be maybe we could stop. And that is what Pope Francis is trying to convey. Christmas is rapidly upon us. We will gather with others and the opportunities will abound for us to chatter about others. Let's make an effort to have unkind gossip stop with us! Love, heidi
Things are soon to get crazy around here, so if I don't get a note off tomorrow, please have a beautiful, holy, wonderful and memorable Christmas!