Friday, January 03, 2014

Glory to God and Merry Christmas!

It is a brand new year. I am rather amazed at the fact that it is the year 2014; nonetheless, I am energized about this New Year.

Here I sit on January 3 feeling a little jiggly ball of anticipation in the core of my being. I have made a few resolutions for myself and I do believe that it is the promise of change within me that is creating the excitement.

December is such a difficult month for me. The days are short and the hype is high and hope falls to its lowest. The light that I see is full of glitter and neon. The commercial world screams to the rafters about the latest gadget our loved ones have to have, the “happy holi-days” vs “Merry Christmas” debate becomes a political, secular and spiritual battle and there just doesn’t seem to be much time or energy for Advent, a season of waiting and anticipation. Added to this year’s circus…college applications. Oh yeah…and two new kiddos plus…well…let it be said that this was a seriously sad and sometimes scary year.

Such over-abundance in too many; so much scarcity in more. It left me all wadded up in a useless heap.

Well, not literally. But it did affect me seriously with depression, anxiety…and all the crap that goes along with those things, namely, a gigantic void empty of joy or hope.

So, it is with a good deal of joy that I relish this little feeling of hope. I know it is growing. While sadness overwhelmed the Christ-birth story, I do believe that this current feeling is of the Christ-child/man himself and the things he did and said – more importantly – the things he expected us to do and say.

My religious life at this particular age has been fairly evenly split between time claimed as a Southern Baptist and time spent as an Episcopalian. In all reality, I have been an Episcopalian far longer, being confirmed in 1986 and stopped going to the Baptist Church closer to 1972 or 3.

Regardless, the point is, it has only been in the last couple of years that I have begun to hear more clearly preachers preaching on the teachings of Jesus. That is a great deal different that the “Jesus is your Savior and died for your sins, you worthless piece of scum” and “God rewards the righteous with wealth and good fortune and to the worthless – not such good fortune and no wealth” messages that I have had ground into me. It was always about the sacrifice of Jesus, my worthlessness and GAWD’s retribution.

This year is different. I feel it. This is the year that people are talking about God/Jesus/Holy Spirit; talking about change. Sara Miles, Nadia Bolz-Weber and Pope Francis are in the news and on my radar. This is the year that people will seriously address the issues that make people homeless, that allow them to be hungry, and that cause people to spend hours out of their week going around to different food pantries so that they can feed their families. Finding food is their work.

The Daily Episcopalian recently posted an essay by Sara Miles. It is a serious message that is, in the words of Janis Joplin, “of great social and political import.” We can no longer see ourselves as separate, above the fray, outside of the oneness that God calls us into. What hurts one, hurts all.  Nadia Bolz-Weber is a breath of fresh air, bald honesty, and someone I would love to meet, just to say I have met her. I know her language and brutal honesty make some cringe but perhaps that one is the ear that needs to listen more closely. And Pope Francis…well…it is a new day in the Church…rather; maybe it is an old day come into the Light after a great many decades of decadence and dishonor to the masses. In the mess that is politics and anti-justice and anti-mercy politicians, these people offer me a sense of sanity, an indication that there are others who think and feel the same way as I do.  And their audience is large! There are those who will listen to them and in the listening, be altered.

I know that not all people are as seriously affected by the secular season of Christmas and short days of the winter. And I know I am a little late coming to the celebration but it is, after all, still Christmas if already the 10th day! Better late than never!

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’

Glory to God indeed who has lifted me from the void of Sheol; who has nurtured within my heart that seed of hope; who has been with me throughout this time. Thanks be to God for the goodness and mercy and most of all…Joy.

Merry Christmas to all. 

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