It’s my usual post-Christmas funk, so I decide the decorations won’t come down till “Little Christmas,” or Epiphany, as Christians call it. It’s when, as the story goes, the wise men visited the baby Jesus. In my church’s tradition, the event that led to widespread knowledge of the Christ’s appearance in the human world. What I like to think of as Love being revealed in a whole new way. But, I’m still in a bit of a funk; I have been for a while. It started in November. I wrote about it and then didn’t post it. I thought it sounded too cranky. But, now, here it is.
November 24, 2016
It’s the day before Thanksgiving, here in the US of A, but it’s hard to tell. I’m at the mall, sitting next to a tree loaded with red bows and white lights, behind the candy-themed fantasyland where Santa’s been offering photo opps for a month already. Looks and sounds more like Christmas time than the time to ponder what I’m grateful for. Definitely doesn’t feel like Christmas in my heart.
Are you there, heart?
This heart of mine feels weary lately. Staying positive and serene has taken extra concentration. Feelings and thoughts take extra time to process. I mean, a wacko has been elected ringmaster of my country and now is filling the circus with a frightening array of clowns. The stress is getting to me. On second thought, maybe this year I need the Christmas season to start extra early.
My pre-Christmas season has always been about hope. Hope, and the bigger picture–two perspectives that sure are taking their time sinking in today. I’m trying to be gentle with myself as I sort it out. Instead of taking in everyone’s opinions, I’m tuning in to bigger-picture messages, starting with a recent Sunday message.
The story (in the Bible, Genesis 25) was about an ambitious man (Jacob) taking advantage of his brother’s (Esau) hunger. Esau, really, really hungry, craved the fragrant stew his brother had made. He said he’d do anything to eat some stew. Jacob saw his advantage and asked for his brother’s birthright in exchange for the meal, and Esau agreed! So much we could talk about here, but what I’m feeling today in that story is how I crave warm “soul food,” and how I sell myself out in my search for that “food.” For sure, I could use that comfort right now.
We read a Psalm together on Sunday, too, from the Bible, number 46: The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us.
I’m taking that on faith today, the day before Thanksgiving. God in my life always has a wild, unexpected plan for good.
Sitting amongst pre-Thanksgiving shoppers, I think about using my heart and voice to connect more deeply with the preschool kids I sing with; I think about the connections that I so often am blessed to make with neighbors and strangers. I clearly see the hunger in us all, made so very obvious by the recent election. I see how that hunger drives us to sell our birthrights: love. We want to feel better, go about our daily business, hope that the powers that be work it out somehow. Not enough. I’ve got to BE love in all kinds of ways. I now can see the need for lights on the bushes, around the windows, wound around trees–ASAP!
Lucille Ball is in my head:
Haul out the holly;Put up the tree before my spirit falls again.Fill up the stocking,I may be rushing things, but deck the halls again now.For we need a little ChristmasRight this very minute,Candles in the window,Carols at the spinet.Yes, we need a little ChristmasRight this very minute.It hasn’t snowed a single flurry,But Santa, dear, we’re in a hurry;So climb down the chimney;Put up the brightest string of lights I’ve ever seen.Slice up the fruitcake;It’s time we hung some tinsel on that evergreen bough.For I’ve grown a little leaner,Grown a little colder,Grown a little sadder,Grown a little older,And I need a little angelSitting on my shoulder,Need a little Christmas now.(Songwriter: Jerry Herman)
Give a little listen, if you’d like:
Be light in the world.