Christmas compromise lesson for lawmakers
December 21st, 2011
06:29 PM ET

Christmas compromise lesson for lawmakers

The mad dash to buy last minute Christmas presents is about at its peak. Shoppers rush around, their eyes glaze over. No words are exchanged but the message is clear, what can I find? What will it cost? Will they like this?

The president of the United States joined the throngs just days before Christmas with an unannounced stop at a local Best Buy to purchase Just Dance 3, a Wii game. “This is for the girls,” he said.

Retailers are banking on the holiday season to polish an otherwise dismal year in an economy that is struggling at best.

President Obama, who has delayed his Christmas getaway to Hawaii to join his family, is fighting with Congress to create jobs and ease the pressure on the unemployed, but there’s a lot of partisan bickering.

However, take a step away from all the political noise and listen.

Do you hear what I hear?

There’s cheer in the air. Salvation Army bell ringers are perched outside grocery stores where some are accepting credit cards for the first time.

Christmas carols echo through packed malls, and radio stations that typically rock the house are rocking around the Christmas tree.

This is also the time of year where the names Bethlehem and Nazareth are uttered in songs and sermons.

Bethlehem is where Christians believe Jesus was born more than 2000 years ago. Nazareth is the Biblical town where he grew up. As the story is told, Mary and Joseph traveled over several days to Bethlehem where the “no vacancy” sign was lit up everywhere except at a stable. Manger scenes the world over provide a Polaroid shot if you will of that historic event.

The two towns are linked in a prophetic moment that centuries later inspired the names of two other towns thousands of miles away in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

Nazareth, PA was founded by German immigrants in 1740. They were Protestants who had “no room in the Inn” for outside faiths. Non-protestants were not allowed to purchase property in that community, according to accounts of the towns history.

Bethlehem, PA, a few miles away, was founded by a small group of Moravians who had a member’s only policy too when it came to leasing plots of land.

Perhaps there are lessons to be learned of tolerance, respect, even compromise, from the history of those two U.S. towns.

Nazareth and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania have opened their arms since those days when religious differences dictated whose name could be on a deed.

A large Christmas star shines year round atop a mountain overlooking Bethlehem, a town that was once home to the Bethlehem Steel company.
It’s a constant reminder of the meaning behind the town’s name.

Whether it’s Republicans and Democrats throwing punches in-between singing Joy to the World, or a polarizing comment shouted from a yard decorated with festive lights, the season of hope and forgiveness provides an opportunity for self examination.

It shouldn’t take a Christmas miracle to shake politicians from unbending views. In this season of gift giving maybe they’ll deliver Americans something that doesn’t come neatly wrapped in a large box: Jobs, a better economy, and a will to compromise.

Too bad that gift can’t be found at a local Best Buy.

Topics: Christmas • Congress • Lothianisms • President Obama

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Bill in STL

    Even if it were there ... this president would not buy it.... It does not match his agenda

    December 21, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • joep199

      And you, my friend, are a prime example of why Dan Lothlan is asking for tolerance, respect, and compromise.

      December 21, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
  2. richard f. gardner

    Ummm, did you just announce what the president got his daughters for christmass? How grinch of you!

    December 21, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
  3. george of the jungle

    It is pretty obvious who the adults are. Even the simple stories about the president Christmas shopping has drawn the rude comments of so many repo's. You guys don't get it . Thats why we won't vote for any of you. Tired of all the negative and nasty comments. Obama won the last election get over it. He will win the next because of your personal attacks.

    December 21, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
  4. Reality

    So after thorough analyses of the NT Christmas passages, what are a few of the conclusions of some of the top contemporary NT scholars?

    Matt 1:18-25: From Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 123-124, "The fathering of Jesus from the Holy Spirit and his birth from the virgin Mary are unhistorical". Ludemann gives a very detailed analysis to support his conclusions. One part being the lack of attestations to these events and the late time strata of said story.

    "Lüdemann [Jesus], (pp. 261-63) discounts Luke's account as a legend deriving from Jewish Hellenistic circles that were concerned to hold together the procreation of the Spirit, the authentic sonship of the Messiah and the virginal conception. "

    Bruce Chilton

    "In [Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography] (2000), Chilton develops the idea of Jesus as a mamzer; someone whose irregular birth circu-mstances result in their exclusion from full participation in the life of the community. He argues for the natural pa-ternity of Joseph and finds no need for a miraculous conception. In his subsequent reconstruction of Jesus' life, Chilton suggests that this sustained personal experience of exclusion played a major role in Jesus' self-ident-ity, his concept of God and his spiritual quest.

    John Dominic Crossan

    "In [Historical Jesus] (p. 371) Crossan treats this cluster, like 007 Of Davids Lineage, as an example of the interplay of prophecy and history in the development of the Jesus traditions.

    "In [Birth of Christianity] (pp. 26-29) Crossan uses Luke's account of Jesus' conception and birth to explore ethical issues concerning the public interpretation of the past. He notes the tendency of Christian scholars to disregard "pagan" birth legends while investing great effort in the defence of biblical birth narratives. He concludes:

    I do not accept the divine conception of either Jesus or Augustus as factual history, but I believe that God is incarnate in the Jewish peasant poverty of Jesus and not in the Roman imperial power of Augustus. "

    "The following ancient parallels to Jesus' miraculous conception should be noted:
    Birth of Moses (Exod 2:1-10)
    Birth of Plato (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, 3.45) [see Acts of Jesus, p. 507]
    Birth of Alexander the Great (Plutarch, Parallel Lives, 2.1-3.5) [see Acts of Jesus, p. 502f]
    Birth of Apollonius (Philostratus, Life of Apollonius, I.4) [see Acts of Jesus, p. 505]"

    And some final words from Thomas Jefferson, not a contemporary NT scholar, but indeed a very learned man:

    "And the day will come,
    when the mystical generation of Jesus,
    by the Supreme Being as His Father,
    in the womb of a virgin,
    will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva
    in the brain of Jupiter.

    - Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
    Letter to John Adams, from Monticello, April 11, 1823.


    The holyday of Christmas is historically a non-event. Ditto for the Feast of the Magi and the solemnity of Mary aka New Years day.

    December 22, 2011 at 12:15 am |
  5. Reality


    The holyday of Christmas is historically a non-event. Ditto for the Feast of the Magi and the solemnity of Mary aka New Years day.

    December 22, 2011 at 12:16 am |
  6. Lefty

    There's always a favorable view of giving in DC, because it's all somebody else's money they're giving away. Every day is Christmas for those on the dole. A true miracle would be a politician telling the truth.

    December 22, 2011 at 7:20 am |
  7. George

    Good old CNN, catering to the intellectual light weights. Despite the trained reflexive response from your viewership, compromise has no inherent value. Compromise only expedites the decision making process, but that is only a good thing if the policies being compromised upon are themselves good.

    This is so abundantly obvious that your Pavlov's Dog of a viewership should even be able to grasp. But, this drives to the inherent intellectual bankruptcy of your organization. Instead of attempting to understand the differences in governing philosophy that foments these impasses, you(CNN), reach for tired canards, like this article on compromise.

    Your interviews are better, but that is only because the person you interview brings all of the substantive material. Example, Ali Velshi, attempted to interview Ron Paul about his planned policies in office. He tried desperately to pull a Gloria Borger(lets talk about discredited charges of racism), when the smallest amount of Austrian economics began to challenges the memes CNN pushes about budgetary policy. Never mind these are rehashes of statements commentators were making at the end of WW2(which failed to materialize), and have been thoroughly rebuked in 2 studies on the Keynesian multiplier(from OECD and ECB).

    I assume this most recent unthinking article on compromise is about the payroll tax holiday. That could be an interesting conversation, but I doubt CNN would enjoy it. As the end result would be a lessening of the centralization of power and an increase in individual liberty(these are in human history inverse functions).

    December 22, 2011 at 7:54 am |
  8. John Richardson

    This article is totally insipid. The author should hang his head in shame.

    December 22, 2011 at 8:01 am |
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