Christmas 2018

a migrant child in foreign lands
an unplanned birth, the world expands
to join with ours his storyline
unite the human and divine

yet still we struggle, cannot see
divine-ness in humanity
so Christmas comes, we try anew:
see you in me and me in You.

Resurrection

A few days ago I received a phone call from a friend of mine.  He had recently learned that he and his mother will receive their social security cards and residency papers.  They will be able to stay in the United States.  Wonderful!  We are lucky to have them- good, caring people; hard working people.  Gentle.

This family was forced from their home country by negative situations beyond their control.  They moved to the US only to live in the shadows, experiencing violence both personal and systemic.  When you live in the shadows you cannot fully participate and share your gifts.  You live in fear – fear that you will be sent back, you might lose your job and a thousand other fears.  Those fears, though, are nothing when compared to the lived experience that sent you away from home.

Now there is hope.  There is hope of permanence and pertenencia, belonging.  Having grown up in the only city he has ever known, he will now be able to participate fully in all of the rights and responsibilities of belonging.  Moving out of the shadows.  May we hear the same positive news for many other immigrants so that they, too, may move out of the shadows.

This blog was started about 5 years ago as an Advent gift for a 12 year old.  The waiting of Advent has come full circle to an emerging from the shadows:  Resurrection.

You always belonged.  Now it’s official.

A Song for Christmas (just add music!)

Working 2 part times, ‘round minimum wage
I pay all my debts but I can’t turn the page
So during the year I put coins in a jar
To make Christmas special and point to the star

In our simple home it’s just me and my son
His mother was taken when he was just one
Though strong till the end the disease was still stronger
It’s seven years later, some nights still feel longer

Chorus:
The best part of Christmas right here in this part
Is the time spent together, it’s here in the heart
The star of great wonder that shines from above
Is not about presents, it’s all about love

There’s one gift to cuddle and something to wear
One gift for learning and a fun-thing we’ll share
Most were bought used, now cleaned and with bows
I imagine him smiling from head to his toes

The four little presents wrapped, under the tree
There’s a gingerbread cookie for him and for me
The night before Christmas he sits in my lap
Together we read, together we nap

Chorus

I heard him start coughing and quickly awoke
The house wasn’t burning but filled up with smoke
The candle that flickered to brighten the night
Burned into the table and gave us a fright

“It could have been worse,” the firemen said in my ear.
“Insurance can fix it, there’s nothing to fear.”
I cried as I listened, still hugging my boy
Who whispered, “Merry Christmas, Dad” with tears and some joy.

Chorus

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

23        Screen shot 2012-12-19 at 9.53.42 PMStopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Best Christmas Pageant Ever!

22  Best Christmas Pageant Ever

http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=d4KSXrz28uE

The Herdmans are the worst kids in the history of the world. They lie, steal, smoke cigars, swear, and hit little kids. So no one is prepared when this outlaw family invades church one Sunday and decides to take over the annual Christmas pageant.

None of the Herdmans has ever heard the Christmas story before. Their interpretation of the tale — the Wise Men are a bunch of dirty spies and Herod needs a good beating — has a lot of people up in arms. But it will make this year’s pageant the most unusual anyone has seen and, just possibly, the best one ever.

Winter Begins! Winter solstice!

21        Winter Begins!  Winter solstice!

Did you ever wonder why the days are so long in the summer and so short in the winter? In the summer, around June 21 or 22, we experience the summer solstice, which is the longest day of the year. And in the winter, December 21 or 22 is the winter solstice, or shortest day.

But wait! If you live in Australia, you experience the opposite—the longest day is in December and the shortest is in June. Why?

Earth’s Angle

The answer all depends on Earth’s tilt. In the course of one year, Earth orbits around the sun. It does not complete this trip, however, with the North Pole at the top and the South Pole at the bottom because Earth is tilted. In fact, it’s tilted just about 23.5º. So at different times of the year, either the northern or the southern hemisphere is tilted toward and is therefore closer to the sun.

So if you live in the northern hemisphere (north of the equator), Earth is tilted toward the sun in the summer and away from the sun in the winter. The solstice marks the turning point, when the days begin to grow longer (in the winter) or when they begin to grow shorter (in the summer). At the solstice itself, however, the sun appears to stand still in the sky for a few days before and after. The word solstice, in fact, comes from the Latin for sun + to stand still.

Reasons for Seasons

But then why, if the solstice is the turning point, is June 21st considered the first day of summer and December 21st thefirst day of winter? This odd fact is because while the hours of daylight are changing, the oceans need to catch up. Oceans take a long time to heat up and cool down (something called thermal inertia). In June, they are still cool from the winter, so the warmest days happen in July and August. (Have you ever gone swimming off Cape Cod in June? Brrrr!) Similarly, the oceans hold onto the warmth of summer long after the barbeques have ended. So the coldest days usually happen in January and February. (Again, everything is reversed if you live below the equator.)

Even stranger, Earth is closest to the sun between January 3 and 5, but since the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun, the nights are long and the weather is cold.