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"Bethlehem at night," Flickr photo by Nancie Sill taken on January 17, 2011. Used by permission.

“Bethlehem at night,” Photo by Nancie Sill taken January 17, 2011. Used by permission.

Life is a sacred gift, and all the world’s children deserve to grow up in safety and security surrounded by love. Sadly, far too many children fall victim to the violence of poverty, food insecurity, war, civil unrest, human trafficking, sexual predation, gun violence, and more. Yet these are all our children. The human family is one family in spite of all the forces at work to tear it apart. As Christians reflect upon a child who came into this world to bring peace, we must ask ourselves if we are ready to welcome all the vulnerable ones of this world into our consciousness. For it is only in opening our hearts to the suffering of the little ones that we prepare our hearts to receive the gift of this holy child we await at Christmas.

Will You Welcome the Little One?

Bethlehem…city of David…
will you welcome the little one?

Give me reason to believe
you will protect the holy child –
the holy in all children – from harm.

Amid all the bad news –
economic woes
political corruption
a planet willfully plundered
wars and rumors of wars –
take care to use your humanity
fragile as it is
to ease the world’s pain.

O Bethlehem, open your eyes
to the holy one born among us.

Make room in your hearts
for this one who comes
as compassionate healer
justice teacher
abundant life giver
prince of peace.

Brother, Sister, Friend,
will you welcome the little one
sent from God?

Words (c) 2008 Mark Lloyd Richardson