Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The cold Christmas season

A thermometer showing −17°C.Image via Wikipedia

My emotions are running high and low these last few days. The lump in my throat and the tear in my eyes simultaneously catch me unexpectedly when living into the joy of the Lord's coming, alongside the reality of today's daily events.

The paramedics pager that lives in our house (no paramedic lives here, rather a chaplain always on call) is not quiet this a.m. There is a sheet of ice on our local streets and totally iced roadways leading into town. Just now a roll-over victim has been released from an accident and is on their way to the hospital. I pray for the victim and for the paramedics who've risked their lives to venture out for rescue.

My mind lingers on the young family that lost their home to fire last week as well as a business devastated by fire. Why am I reminded so clearly NOW of the tragedy around my small town and that of the world. Certainly tragedy occurs all year long; children never stop starving or dying from malaria, nor crazed suicide bombers think not to cease their activity only continuing to claim as many innocent lives as possible, and electrical fires and kitchen fires still flare up on the coldest days of the year.

Perhaps it is the cold that brings these images so close to me in this season or maybe it is the promise or frightening aspect of God, our savior, being born into the coldness of our collective hearts; all the while attending beautiful worship services in my warm clothes and reading scripture that admonishes me to "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you."

Has it? Do I live in a way that says the glory of the Lord has dawned upon me? Do you? Should I do something and am I doing something to raise the temperature of the coldness that permeates daily lives in our cities and in our "can't avoid it/connected" world?

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  1. i'd say the temperature is rising... i wondered about your recent poem. it sounded very close to home. you and the good chaplain are shining light into numerous dark places...

    i told my spiritual director the other day that it feels like when i open my heart, the whole world falls in. misty-eyed and joyful here, too. go figure?!?!? xoxoxo

  2. SS, You know, I can't tell you how many times I feel like despairing about the state of the world. But, when it comes right down to it, I can't help but believe in the goodness of people. Yes, I believe in the evil of people and of their failures as well. But, when I look around me, I see so many trying to do so much good. May this post inspire me to do more and more good.


  3. Anonymous6:41 AM

    SS, Here is Sodom, there is a deadening logic that stops people from doing the work of This God that so many claim to follow. The logic is that only the big things matter, the material gifts of physical comfort, the physical relief of pain and suffering. True, we are all called to share what we have and to know when enough is enough in our acquisitiveness for our own pleasures. But the real work is in the little things, in the going out in life and being available, even if for a short while. How does the checker at the market see this Joshua (Jesus) in you? Would this Joshua have given the checker a tip? or would he have been fully present while transacting the business?
    Here is Sodom it is not unusual to see doers of the "BIG" work, charities, religious houses, etc, Talk the talk in organization yet be too busy on the cell phone while out in public to acknowledge, or even be anything beyond rude and condescending to the food server where they grab a quick bite. What is more rare however is the warm smile, sincere thank you and full engagement with the other as a part of ourself, connected in our creation by the God that is.
    Oh, and the welling in the throat and the water in the eyes, that is just the spirit growing to large to be contained.

  4. Lucy, Rebecca, Bruno - thank you thank you for your responses. The last few days, maybe even since Thanksgiving, my sadness over situations has felt out on my sleeve or as the last sentence of the comment above states so beautifully -
    "the welling in the throat and the water in the eyes, that is just the spirit growing too large to be contained." Along with your comments and a wonderful spiritual formation group meeting yesterday, I believe I've a new post in the making for today!