John Coltrane Quartet – “Alabama”

Pastor Munther Issac,
Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church
in Bethlehem
December 23, 2023

Yesterday there was no Christmas in Bethlehem.

That’s not the name of a song.

It’s a simple statement of fact.

Every year, I look forward to releasing the Christmas “mix tape” because I like the idea of bringing happiness to people.

The flip side is I can’t ignore the misery and sorrow of others.

This year, halfway through Christmas morning, my wife asked if we could turn the music off and I had to agree with her.

Our family came over later and we had a good time with them, but somehow playing celebratory music did not sit right with us this Christmas.

Sixty years ago, this past September 15th, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed by some deranged, hate-filled people, killing four young African-American girls.

The murders rightly shocked the conscience of a nation.

The perpetrators and their supporters (the first one wasn’t jailed until 14 years later) justified their crime as “protecting their way of life.”

This Christmas, as of this writing, 110 mosques and three Christian churches have been bombed in Gaza. More than 20,000 civilians have been killed, over half children with over 200 people killed in the last 24 hours alone.

For the wounded, there are no working hospitals, no medical clinics, no ambulances, and over 300 medical personnel killed. 1.2 million Gazans (4 out of 5) are now homeless and the UN has stated “there is no safe place in Gaza.”

These are the facts.

Every September 15, we play John Coltrane’s “Alabama” in memory of the lives of the four innocent little girls murdered in Birmingham.

Today we play it along with a sermon from Pastor Munther Issac of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem.

I don’t know what we can do to help given the monstrous indifference of our governments and news media, but we can start by not averting our eyes from this great evil and speaking out clearly against it.

The day the first child was injured this should have been stopped.

– Ken McCarthy
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