Unwrapping Christmas

What if Christmas were a gift to us?  I wonder what changes if Christmas might be a gift that invites me to see myself, God and our world in a different perspective.
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I wonder what changes if i am worthy; What if, like the drovers of that first story, we/you/i had something REALLY worthwhile to contribute to the ongoing story of our world, instead of apologising my way through life (saying sorry for our words or actions or presence), or always having to be better than someone else – or someone else expectations?


I wonder what changes if the best person to bring this Child into the world was a poor teenager whose only qualification was that she might say “Let’s give this a go”?  I wonder if that changes my perspective of everyone else around me.


I wonder what changes if God is not “Up there in the sky” with a big stick waiting to bash us … or tell us off … or fine us when we think or do things that hurt ourselves or others – but present among us as love? Really. Present. Love.


I wonder what changes if our world was so precious and beautiful that it was worth an announcement that whatever glory was in heaven has now been born as a baby. On this Planet. I wonder whether we might take our participation in the world more seriously than our use of it.


I wonder what changes …

A Blue Christmas

All my favourite people are broken
Believe me
My heart should know

We know that Christmas is not all tinsel and joyful anticipation for everyone. Many of us have faced loss this year … the loss of a loved one or a friend; the loss of a job or innocence; we have faced the reality that we cannot do things we once did, to think as quickly as we once did, to keep up with others as we used to … even to do things for ourselves or others.


For others, illness or accident have given a scare that causes us to rethink priorities or dreams or purpose.

Christmas can be tinged – or soaked – in grief and sadness, while at the same time holding a glimmer of light and laughter. It can be both – and that’s ok.

Some prayers are better left unspoken
I just wanna hold you
And let the rest go

Participating in a Blue Christmas (at home or in a public event) can help us to acknowledge that loss for ourselves, or for others; and to acknowledge the impact of that loss and grief on our lives, our loves and our hopes and dreams.

As for your tender heart—
This world’s gonna rip it wide open
It ain’t gonna be pretty
But you’re not alone

The story the birth of Jesus acknowledges those losses. Really? Yes. If all had been well, Joseph and Mary would not have been forced to travel away from home when they were due have a baby; there would have been room in the inn; the first visitors would have been friends and family; they would not have had to flee as refugees to a foreign land because of a murderous king; children would not have died at the hand of a brutal leader; Mary would not have been told, “and a sword will pierce your soul too!”

Doing my own Blue Christmas

Orphaned believers, skeptical dreamers
You’re welcome
Yeah, you’re safe right here
You don’t have to go

Some time this Christmas, take a few minutes to name the loss or losses you have faced this year – alone or with a friend. If you have not experienced a grief, then name someone whom you know has … there are enough to go around!

If you are into prayer, then pray … for yourself and others.

If not, name them out loud.

Or write them down. Or light a candle for each loss, or friend who has lost.

Or maybe do all of these.

Then sit in silence with the grief and loss visible, or echoing, in the space.

When you are ready, take a deep breath and exhale. And another – in and out.

Today has both grief and hope, loss and freshness. And there is hope … where do you see it? In a friend, a child, nature, a word, or music? Breathe that hope in and out. You may even want to name it in a whisper or in writing.

Then there is tomorrow, unknown and unformed … what can you bring to tomorrow that will make it better for someone else?

All my friends are part saint and part sinner
We lean on each other
Try to rise above

We’re not afraid to admit we’re all still beginners
We’re all late bloomers
When it comes to love

Acknowledging a loss or grief this Christmas can be healing for you, for others. Hold them gently, and be gentle with yourself.

Italicised words from the song “All my Favourite People” From the album The Long Surrender by Over the Rhine. http://overtherhine.com/albums/the-long-surrender/ (Track 12)