Choices: To speak truth to power

Clarence Oddbody, Angel Second Class, in “It’s a Wonderful Life” reviews George Bailey’s life whom Clarence is being sent to help.  Clarence sees a scene from George’s youth when he is working at the Pharmacy.  George sees a telegram on the counter and reads it only to learn that his boss, Mr. Gower has just been informed that his son died of influenza.  George sees Mr. Gower drinking in his grief and realizes that Mr. Gower has mistakenly filled a prescription with poisonous medicine.  George is told to deliver the medicine.  George at about age 12 is called upon “to speak truth to power.”  He runs to his father for moral support but his father is arguing with the banker.  George returns to the shop and tells his boss about the mistake.  Mr. Gower boxes George’s sore ear but on hearing his mistake, falls on his knees in gratitude.  George never tells anyone of the incident.

         Part of the Christmas story in Matthew tells of the wise men traveling to Jerusalem as they follow the star and then being interviewed by King Herod.  They do not hide that they are looking for “the one who has been born king of the Jews.”  They must have realized that such an announcement would be shocking to the power structures there. 

         Sharing the truth of who we are and what we believe is not always a comfortable experience.  If we refuse to follow instructions because of our values, we may have our ears boxed figuratively.  The temptation is to sugar coat news that might hurt, to gloss over some of the facts, or to paint a nice picture.  Can you think of a time when you did not share your faith or did not exactly tell the whole truth?  One of the challenges of this Advent season is to speak our truth about Christmas, about the birth of the Christ child, in a transparent way that not only another can hear and understand but presents honestly the birth of Christ into our world of political powers like King Herod.  Yes, we enjoy the fun of the season but we know the core truth is about Jesus’s birth.  May God give us courage as we are called upon to speak our truth to the people who have power in our lives.  Blessings.

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