Thursday, 24 December 2015

P. S. to Christmas and Depression

Somehow I wondered if I'd gone too far with that last blog. And then I wonder if I went far enough. It's not that I don't find joy at Christmas. But the joy emerges out of facing - living - the realities. And part of the struggle with the funeral of our friend was to allow people to be where they were. Not to try to offer hope in a God they don't - or many may not - believe in. Or, they may have other names for God. How to be true to being an Anglican priest albeit a rebel one ... whom he had said (unbeknownst to me) months ago that he wanted to do his service if he died ...  in a situation where the idea of God is anathema to some.  

So... God came into this world in all of its mess and suffering and despair and tragedies. God came because God knew what we needed. That includes respecting the diverse spaces different people are in theologically, emotionally, and in every way.

And how to put a word of hope into a situation of such profound grief? The only way I saw was to speak truth and to, in a small way, BE hope. Even if I didn't feel  hope. Because I certainly wasn't going to preach a message that would feel like abuse and be tossed angrily away.

Quiet hope. Advent. Waiting. A seed planted that perhaps one or more will come back to. The knowledge that they are heard and they are not alone.


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So many stories at this time of year hidden behind the masks of singing happily...

A young woman who went full term through a healthy pregnancy and her baby died at birth. May her heart and that of her husband be gently held by those who love them.

Cousins whose wee girl has been through two years of hell with cancer treatments - hanging in - a fighter - no clear answer in sight as to her future. She is loved.

Friends who are seriously ill and friends who reach out to them.

People in nursing homes with no one to visit them.

Others for whom this is the first Christmas without their spouse, parent, child... and we remember with them.

Refugees fleeing inhuman horrors - and refugees arriving and being welcomed in a new country :-)

Homeless and hungry people - and people at Mile End Mission and other organizations not just giving out Christmas baskets, but giving love and respect and understanding. 

Bombings, racism, earthquakes ... overwhelming... 

and Mr. Rogers mother told him:


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I've found comfort theses past months attending almost daily Mass at a local RC Church late in the afternoon. Quiet. Peaceful. Not knowing what it is doing in my soul other than giving me strength to keep on keeping on, reminding me of how I was nourished in convent days by daily prayer and liturgies including daily mass. God is mystery. I'm listening and trying to respond - and it's out of this dailiness that a still small voice is heard of how best to minister. How best to live hope.

This is the world Jesus was born into. Because we need him. And people need us - to simply be. 

One old Roman Catholic priest who was a missionary in DRC for many years has a gentle, humble approach to faith. He suggested that we place whatever is troubling us into the manger - and that is the place Jesus will come. I'm thinking we'll do that tonight.

  
THE STABLE                     Sr. Mary Chrysostom, O.S.B.
The winds were scornful,
Passing by;
And gathering Angels
Wondered why
A burdened Mother
Did not mind
That only animals
Were kind.
For who in all the world
Could guess
That God would search out
Loneliness.

Google image - Jesus Mafa art

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God of light and hope; of stars and surprises: open our eyes to your glory and our hearts to your presence that we may respond with joy (and I add hope) to the angel song; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.



Christmas Blessing:  So may the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the perseverance of the magi, the obedience of Joseph and Mary, and the peace of the Christ child be yours this Christmas. And the blessing of God the one who created us, God the one who was born to redeem us, God the Holy Spirit who comforts and challenges us, be upon us and remain with us always.                       Amen.  

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