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Merry Christmas

It has been awhile since I posted.

The other day someone told me I was an idealist. I think they meant as a put down. I took it as a compliment. After all, many schools of philosophy and their philosophers are dreamers.

Somehow, having dreams of a more just and humane world is not realistic. It reminded me of what Christmas might mean to someone who is a dreamer and lines from Imagine by John Lennon:

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Several year ago, I read an essay by Parker Palmer that reminds me the miracle of Christmas. It reminded me how, as a child growing up in Northern Alberta, Christmas was a time of wonder I could not explain and try not to as an adult.

Parker posted on Facebook about an experience in Nogales Mexico at a refuge for asylum seekers. Asylum is another word for seeking refuge. He pointed out Jesus was likely a person of colour born into the Jewish faith. For me, his birth is an ecumenical event.

I wrote the following poem several years ago and am drawn back to it each year. I hope it captures Christmas in a way that reaches out and touches each of what we have in common: our humanness and we are a journey seeking refuge at various times

Carpenter guiding,

Expectant mother riding,

Backs straight; heads held high–

Donkey serving as regal carriage.

Seeking refuge in the night–

Giving birth in a stable,

Swathed and cradled in a manger,

Beasts welcoming the child.

Showering gifts upon us–

Returning each year,

Lighting each way–

Only asking, “Can you open your hearts?”

Source of strength,

Our turn to humbly receive gifts,

Restocking spirits,

Rejuvenating souls.

For several years, Kathy and I enjoyed Canadian singer and actor Tom Jackson.

He does a lovely rendition of Huron Carole, which I share below. Again, this points to an ecumenical nature of Christmas, Christ’s Mass, echoing Parker’s (re)membering “the story, the music, the candlelight, the scent of pine, the silent night, the warm presence of family and friends.”

For me, it is also food and opening a present on Christmas Eve. The food included traditional French-Canadian tourtière (meat pie), which Kathy and I continue to share with our children and grandchildren.

Merry Christmas

It has been a couple of weeks since I posted and offer this poem.

Today, I read a short piece written by Parker Palmer that reminds me the miracle of Christmas is in the incarnation of God in human form. His essay reminds me of how, as a child growing up in Northern Alberta, Christmas provided a sense of wonder I could not explain and try not to as a rational adult.

Parker also posted on Facebook an event he experienced last year in Nogales Mexico at a house for asylum seekers. Asylum seekers is another way of saying they were seeking refuge. He points out Jesus was likely a person of colour. I take it one step further and point out he was a Jew and born into that faith. His birth was an ecunemical event, not a Christian one.

Carpenter guiding the way,

Expectant mother riding,

Backs straight; heads held high–

Donkey serving as regal carriage.

Seeking refuge from the night–

Giving birth in a stable,

Swathed and cradled in a manger,

Beasts welcoming the child.

Showering gifts upon us–

Returning each year,

Lighting the way–

Only asking, “Can you open your hearts?”

Source of strength,

Our turn to humbly receive gifts,

Restocking spirits,

Rejuvenating souls.

Kathy and I enjoyed Canadian Indigenous singer and actor Tom Jackson. Most years, he tours at this time of year and helps food banks. In the midst of Covid, we each have to find ways to share with those in need.

He does a lovely rendition of Huron Carole, which I share below. Again, this points to an ecunemical nature of Christmas, Christ’s Mass, echoing Parker’s remembrance of “the story, the music, the candlelight, the scent of pine, the silent night, the warm presence of family and friends.” For me, it was also the food and opening a present on Christmas Eve. The food included traditional French-Canadian tourtière (meat pie), which Kathy and I continue to share with our children and grandchildren.

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