the nest

the nest

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas time is here...

Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all the children call
Their favorite time of the year

Snowflakes in the air
Carols everywhere
Olden times and ancient rhymes
Of love and dreams to share

Sleigh bells in the air
Beauty everywhere
Yuletide by the fireside
And joyful memories there

Christmas time is here
We'll be drawing near
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year...

This is one of my all time favorite Christmas songs.  I never get tired of it.  The meaning has changed over the years for me though and this year my soul responds more than ever to the melancholy tune of the song.  I'm sure it's been analyzed to death and I know that one of the reasons Charlie Brown and his friends endure is that they are so much more than characters in a cartoon storyline for kids.  

Christmas is changing for us this year in many ways.  It is the first year one of our children will be away from us~ Katy will be with the Luther Swim and Dive team in San Diego.  It is an awesome opportunity for her to really "dive" in to her sport and connect on a deeper level with her teammates.  We are lucky enough to have best friends who will be in Southern California with family so she will spend Christmas Eve and Day with them.

Andrew is in a house this year with people he really enjoys and will just be with us for a few short days.  

Helen and Jeff and I will head to Canada for a few days to see grandparents and cousins, but it will be quick and there will be some empty seats.

I just re-read that line and feel almost ashamed.  My empty seats are temporary.  Another holiday, another family trip or dinner, they will be full again.  What about the seats at the tables of the families in Sandy Hook?  What about the tables of the families of the police officers in Brooklyn?  There are thousands of seats that are empty forever because a vocal minority thinks that their right to own guns designed to kill people is more important than a human life.  

During this season of Advent and Christmas we are all waiting for something.  Those of us who celebrate the birth of Christ wait and watch.  We anticipate the birth of the Christ Child come to bring light back to a dark world.  Those who celebrate a secular Christmas wait and prepare for a time of giving and celebrating ~ they celebrate the light too, just with a different focus.  With the passing of the Winter Solstice, we embrace the reality that our days will get longer and the sunlight will return to us.  We all wait.

As my children grow and go out into the world, I will always wait for them to come home.  Their seats at the table will be there waiting for them.  I will always feel some relief when my table is full.  The families who have empty chairs that will never be filled again?  I hold them in my heart and I promise that I will continue to speak on their behalf.  I will continue to argue on the side of common sense and justice and kindness.  I will stand with those who will remember the faces of ones who will never come home and I will love them.

Waiting for my children to come home is pretty passive though.  I can simply wait and welcome them when they are here.  I can make it a welcoming place to come, but in the end, as they grow, they decide when to come take their place at the table.  I watch and wait.  

Waiting for Christmas and the symbolic celebrations involved can be passive to.  We are actively involved in all the "fluff" around the celebrations, shopping, baking, wrapping, but waiting for the days to grow longer, or waiting to be reminded of the birth of the Christ Child is passive.

Watching and waiting can be good in a way, but sometimes action is better.  We need to be actively loving others and bringing light to the world.  We are the light.  We must be the light.  We are called to be the light. When do we own our power to light up our world with love and kindness?  To hold those who are suffering?  Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless.  

Being a light in a dark world can be hard work, but it's better than watching the darkness spread.  

Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year...

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