Noel: Birth

Every family is different and holiday traditions are unique, but I have yet to meet a family (no doubt there are some) whose Christmas does not rest most heavily on the woman.  By the middle of December, it is the woman with the wild in her eyes, on whom the sense of urgency, of preparation and anticipation rests.  (Men, it seems, handle Christmas with remarkable calm).  In December the hope of Mary falls on all women, and the very spirit of Christmas, it seems, is a feminine one- of waiting, of giving, of gathering, of home; and a desperate hope for peace and all to be well.

I have collected a few of my very favorite thoughts on Christmas this month, and without intending to they all share the theme of women.

1.  I like to pick-up a Christmas book this time of year, and I had not heard of Phyllis Tickle until this book asked to be picked up off the Christmas shelf at our library.  The short book about their holidays at The Farm In Lucy, rural Tennessee, was delightful.  I was even more delighted when I googled the author and learned about Phyllis Tickle, and listened to a sermon by her.  She is on the top of my to-read list for 2012.  (And she had seven children!?!)
And we will sleep, most of us, for close to two weeks wrapped in the pleasure of that wild disorder, knowing life, however briefly each year, as a rhythm more than as a plotted course; and at least for a little while, we will matter so much less to ourselves.  We will do these things until peace itself becomes, like the Baptizer, a kind of forerunner, a herald; and we all shall cry, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus.!"


What the Land Already Knows by Phyllis Tickle


2.  Incarnation
But this? This creating out of passion and love, the carrying, the seemingly-never-ending-waiting, the knitting-together-of-wonder-in-secret-places,  the pain, the labour, the blurred line between joy and “someone please make it stop,” the “I can’t do it” even while you’re in the doing of it, the delivery of new life in blood and hope and humanity?
This is the stuff of God.
3.  On Being blog:
mercy, she suggested, is womb-like mother love. And it is the capacity of the mother to totally give one’s self over to the need and reality and identity of child. And mutatis mutandis then, mercy is the capacity to give one’s self away for sake of neighborhood. Now none of us do that completely. But it makes a difference if the quality of social transactions have to do with the willingness to give one’s self away for the sake of the other rather than the need to always be drawing all of the resources to myself for my own well-being. 
4.  ...your daughters will prophesy  (I love Rachel Held Evans' blog.  Her list of popluar posts is a great place to start.)
Those of us who are perhaps most equipped to speak and act prophetically in response to the violence, poverty, and inequality that plague our sisters around the world are being silenced ourselves.  
5.  As I have been out shopping or running errands, I have happened to overhear several conversations of people complaining about their families and dreading their Christmas gatherings.  Although we offer wishes of peace and joy, the holidays can unearth deep-rooted family issues and layers of unforgiveness.  I thought that this short post was really meaningful, Christmas forgiveness.

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