It’s almost Christmas. To share joy with their fellow citizens, an atheist group purchased a billboard in the heart of midtown Manhattan stating “Keep the MERRY! Dump the MYTH!”
Of course, this message wasn’t intended to spread joy but to anger believers. The best response to such an outrageous provocation? It’s in today’s reading from Paul’s letter to the Philippians: “Always be joyful in the Lord; Let your good sense be obvious to everybody. Never worry about anything; … the peace of God which is beyond our understanding will guard your hearts and your thoughts.”
In today’s gospel John the Baptist offered good advice too, suggesting how people should live: citizens, share your wealth; tax collectors, don’t cheat anyone; authorities, don’t abuse your power. In summary, do unto others as you’d have them do to you.
By taking Paul’s and John’s advice, we’re also taking the atheists’ advice. We’re sharing our joy and we’re dumping the myth of their Jesus—by revealing the reality of ours–through our actions. Jesus is God, and God is love, and love is real.