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Presence of Christmas: The Loss of Nelson Mandela Essay

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     “Presence at Christmas”             Luke 6: 27-31                 
 
Only 20 days until Christmas, the world lost a noble presence.  Nelson Mandela, the first President of South Africa who was elected by all the country, died at age 95.  The AP article in the Whittier Daily News said he was “South Africa’s first black president, who spent nearly 30 years in prison, and was a global symbol of generosity and sacrifice.”
His death is mourned by not only many people in Africa, but by people all over the world who see in him a man of remarkable things, of forgiveness, of integrity, of sacrifice and of graciousness
There has been quite a lot of attention given him by the media.  The honor and praises given him bring to me fresh spiritual reflection and insights.
 
1) The Praise Due To Jesus
Nelson Mandela was born and grew up in the nation of South Africa, a country dominated by the practice of apartheid.  This is a policy of strict separation of races, black and white.  The result was that much power, privilege and perks went to the ruling white minority.  It was an oppressive practice which distorted life for both blacks and whites.  Growing up, Mandela got some schooling from Christian missionaries.
As a young man, Mandela joined those protesting the unjust practice of apartheid.  When he became disenchanted with peaceful rallies and songs, he thought more forceful practices had to be used.  He was arrested and convicted of attempted sabotage against the government and ended up spending 27 years in prison. 
So why all the tribute?  Mr. Mandela had become an articulate symbol for the struggle for dignity, human rights and freedom for people in South Africa.  When world pressure to end apartheid mounted over many years...


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...is melted by one word:  “Mary.”  It was her name, and it was the Master’s tone.  Into her heart poured incredible hope and joy.  He is alive.  He is not gone.  He is still speaking.  He is still active in this world, which is rightfully His.
Let Jesus speak your name.  He is the living Presence who can speak life to your world.  Let Him love you.  Let Him heal you and teach you how to forgive.  Let Him into your life. Follow Him.
 
These reflections I have arising from the world’s grief on the death of Mandela:  to think upon
The Praise Due To Jesus
How powerful are Jesus’ ways when you put them into practice
The On-Going Presence of Jesus
 
About Mr. Mandela, our President last week said, “He no longer belongs to us — he belongs to the ages.”   But today our Bible tells us something further:  Jesus is in all ages and you can belong to Him. 
Will you?





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