God did not enter the world of our nostalgic silent-night, snow-blanketed peace-on-earth sugar cookie suspended-reality of Christmas. God slipped into the vulnerability of skin and entered a world as violent and disturbing as our own.
~ Nadia Bolz Weber
- 254 Sing We Now of Christmas
- 256 Winter Night
- 127 Can I See Another’s Woe?
- 155 Circle ‘Round For Freedom
- 241 In the Bleak Midwinter
- 181 No Matter If You Live Now Far or Near
“Other People’s Children”
This was a Christmas service, but a somewhat sharper one than usual. If I remember correctly, the essence of it was that just because it is not our child that suffers, does not make it okay that any child suffers. Or, “there is no such thing as ‘other people’s children.'” It probably connected the rough birth of Jesus with the plight of children who are not cared for by their families or communities, for whatever reason: refugee children, children in foster care, possibly other broad groups.
Can I see another’s woe, and not feel pain myself? The state of compassion in which the answer is “no, I cannot” is one that UUs consider good. (And there is value in being able to see the world as it is.)
I wish I remember more of the words for the silence and reflection, because I have noted down “taking next steps with old stories” and I do not remember what that is from. I do remember what it is about: we should not just retell the same old stories in the same old way. The stories we tell shape our sense of reality. We should move forward with and within and around these stories to use them to change the world, not keep it the same.
A side note: I love the hymn Circle ‘Round For Freedom. It is so fantastic. I want to teach it to protestors and sing it when appropriate. I like it a lot better than chants about “fuck those racist killer cops.” (Do I need to censor swear words? I don’t have a real audience; will swear words limit the audience I can accumulate?) It’s just super great.