Peace is a tiny tentative thing, in need of our nurturance and tender care.
For me, this is the heart of the Christmas message, this is what I wish for us all, that we be those who welcome and care for Peace.
Tomorrow Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of Jesus, their Savior, a baby, whose life’s work was Love and Peace.
Whatever we celebrate tomorrow and even if we don’t celebrate, may we all welcome Peace and Love.
Alternative Advent – December 24: 5¢ for every blanket in your house.
To finish out this series, it’s suggested that you donate 15¢ for every gift a member of your family received…
Oh! It sounds as if we’ll have to hope, hope, hope to see this year’s last Full Moon. Lots of rain in our forecast — which we need… Weather’s completely out of whack… but Monday they predict snow! Ah but whether or not we see it, there will be a full Moon. Even if Santa flies above the clouds, he’s going to need Rudolph’s help to get to the right addresses here on the ground…
Oh, right, Peace. I think it’s important to voice our allegiances. We must say out loud that Peace matters, and that we are dedicated to it. It reinforces it in our own hearts/minds/bodies and it lets the world know that we care about Peace. That they can care about Peace. That we can make a difference.
It’s our difference to make. Politicians will be politicians. People in power will protect their vested interests. We, the people, we get to model the Love that we will then demand of our elected officials.
At its heart, Advent is a time of preparation and dedication. Do we want Peace on Earth? We need to consider this. And if our answer is the resounding Yes! I hope it is, we need to proclaim it and commit to it.
Today a Muslim family was flying from Gatwick to Florida to go to Disneyland and were barred from boarding a plane. Who are we? We get to answer that question. Today I was a proud signer of a letter to the editor in our local paper decrying Islamaphobia. Proclaim Peace. Our humanity demands it. People’s safety depends upon it. Peace be with you.
Alternative Advent – December 23: 15¢ for every bedroom you have in your house.
How much more than the title do we need to say?
Side-by-side coexistence… a great start to joyful mingling.
But because we will always have differences, co-existence is going to be a forever thing. We get confused about differences. Our intolerance causes a lot of problems. It causes a lot of violence.
I find this shocking and wrong. We must find our way to Love. Love is the answer to co-existence. Love brings us to Peace. We come to Love by way of our commitment to Peace. It’s all connected. Coexistence. Love. Peace. There’s a holiday wishlist. There’s a holiday to-do list!
And on the joyful coexistence list? It’s the Winter Solstice today. It’s really one of my most favorite days. Most people cheer because they think the days start getting longer… actually, they really hang out for a few days and stop getting shorter. But I love the Dark. I love the candlelit Mystery of this time, the songs, the story-telling, the discovery of new facets that only seem safe to examine in this sweet soft time. I also love the cold, crisp starlight of Deep Winter. Oh, hurrah.
Alternative Advent – December 21: 25¢ if you have a gas/electric law mower. Ha! No lawn; no lawn mower! I should probably give money for my wild joy at not being personally responsible for a particular piece of turf!
It seems that there is so much confusion these days. And some of the confusion, it often seems is about what it means to understand something. People look at something that’s different from their norm and they say they don’t understand… but they often seem to mean they don’t understand how something can be different from the way they see the world, and don’t want to look farther than that.
But understanding has to include acceptance, I think, don’t you? Acceptance of the reality — only then can we work to change things.
It’s a cold clear day here… feels like it should for the moment, even though temperatures will soar. Advent — a time of quiet waiting, deep listening, sweet anticipation. Today we light the fourth candle, Peace. The Sabbath — a time of respite, reflection and restoration. Peace — what we all so sorely need, what we must be engaged in.
Let there be Peace. May I be part of the wonderful journey. May you be my companion.
Alternative Advent — December 20: 10¢ for every non-water beverage you had today.
What we’ve come to think of as sharing tends to be the detailing loads of intimate information.
We try to teach our littles to share. Let Timmy play with your toy, Sally.
But as we get older, we’re often not so good at letting others play with our toys. (I had to stop and look this up. This sentence should read: as we become more affluent we’re often not to good at letting others play with our toys. What I was really interested in in this part is that rich people who live in economically diverse communities give more… We notice our neighbors.)
So then I looked up volunteering. Americans do it; but even those numbers are wonky.
And the clubs we join these days are not communal clubs but health clubs. We get our exercise alone… We don’t join fraternal organizations as frequently, even though there are more of them.
December and the Holidays are when people do think about others a bit more… but sharing with others, not just our resources, but also our hearts is something we need to do all year long. We don’t need to do this simply for our neighbors or our community, we need to do it because it fulfills us — and because we have so much. Everyone becomes more generous when someone models sharing… It changes the world. Softens it and enriches it.
Sharing helps us understand another’s view point, to see new possibilities.
Life is so much fuller when we share. We begin to Love people for who they are and how they think and live. We need to share because that makes Peace more possible. By any measure, that’s a good thing!
Alternative Advent – December 19: 5¢ for every window in your house.
This time of year there are so many memories. Not all of them are wonderful. Some downright not-so-great. But others are grand. Life, eh?
But this time is filled with more than memories of activities; it’s filled with festal foods. Not all of them are wonderful. Some downright not-so-great. But others are grand. Food, eh?
In the same way that I get overcome by the flurry that is the holidays, I can be overcome by the sheer volume of foods shoved our way. My balance lies in finding the foods I adore and keep for this holiday. (Isn’t that what that phrase “keeping Christmas” really means? Keeping the things that belong to that holiday to that holiday. But people wear themselves out, they throw more and more expectations on tiny little holidays that bend and break under the pressure.) Ponder in your heart. Savor in your mouth.
What tastes do you savor during the Winter Holidays? What little luxuries make your mouth and your heart happy? What are your festal foods?
It’s time to celebrate with (small amounts of) those foods that bring those happy memories back. It’s time to ditch those foods that offer reminders of holidays gone bad.
Whatever holidays you keep, may you keep them in joy and love and savor the tastes that make them rich for you. It’s time to give yourself Peace during these wonderful, treacherous days. It’s time to give the world Peace. Here, have a cranberry orange cookie. My sister and I perfected the recipe. Peace in your hearts (and in your mouths!), my friends!
And in the meantime?
Alternative Advent – December 18: 1¢ for every song on a mobile device in your family.
Happy Holidays! All of them! I love this season for so many different reasons that I did as a child. (although Santa, still love me some Santa) I love the Dark. I love this cold quiet time of the year. Tiny sparkly lights whether in the sky or on trees are an additional pleasure, but… just the Dark.
And then there are all those moments. Some are simply solemn. Others are joyfully festive.
But I take this period seriously… It’s the end of a year, time to take account. It’s the beginning of a new with hopes for something better, something more, something Peace. My job today is to revel in that. To let that sense of wonder vibrate through me like the sound of a bell in the cold dry Winter.
Peace needs us. It needs us, it seems, more than ever. It’s on us to appreciate the Peace we have and to keep it growing
Alternative Advent for December 17: 5¢ for every reusable water bottle in your house (or car!).
When was the last time we romped? Just full out played. Not with a child. Not with the dog. Just because we wanted to and it felt good.
It feels so non-grown up, somehow, doesn’t it?
We have important business to be about. (or so we convince ourselves.)
But what if that business were play and enjoyment. What if we loved with our whole heart and then our whole body. Whoo hoo!
I’m pretty goofy — and this feels like a challenge. All the more reason to explore, eh? What would be bad about some flat out enjoyment in our lives? in mine? in yours?
Because I’m pretty sure that Peace has to have fun in it. I’m thinking that Advent needs more than solemnity. So, maybe we should work on romping… as we work on Peace.
Alternative Advent – December 16: 25¢ for every television.
We are the longed for difference. We are what the world needs.
Our struggling best is exactly what the world needs from us. Participating. It’s what’s asked of us.
What ever your faith or philosophic tradition, I believe this. Life is such a miraculous thing. It is totally ridiculous that it happens. And yet it does. So Participating is just saying thanks, enjoying this, over here! Making sure everyone else can as well.
There’s so much work to do. Our hands are needed. Without whining that someone else isn’t doing his/her part… sometimes we need to grab the hand of the person next to us and encourage them along. Participating. It’s a wild and heady feeling.
Because life is wonderful. And we are privileged to be alive. And some of the world needs so much — and who are we to withhold what we have?
Take some time during this season to figure out what your part is. Do something every day to make it better. Take a moment to renew your faith in the gift we’re given. And then get busy. Life needs you! So does Love. So does Peace.
Alternative Advent – December 15: 10¢ for every outside door.
I, like many of us, find it easy to complain. Everything falls short of our expectations — and sometimes our expectations are abysmally low. But sometimes things are just fine and we’re just whiny. It’s important to notice what works and to appreciate, even celebrate, those things.
Advent is one of those times when we are asked to look back — in wonder, perhaps? Turning a critical eye on things doesn’t just mean noticing what isn’t right, it means noticing what what works and what’s easy and wonderful.
If people believe you see them for who they are as wonderful bits of creation, they will dig deep and behave that way more frequently. All of that from a little honest appreciation.
We can do this. We can notice what is right with our world and build on that.
Let us appreciate what we have and work for more. Let us work for Peace.
Alternative Advent – December 14: 15¢ if you have cooking pots. hmmm have or use?