Tag Archive: Christmas

Christmas Values – Day 4: Hope

There is a certain gallows humor among hospital chaplains, I’ve been told — it’s a way to blow off steam in the midst of carrying so much grief for so many people. But it’s something that doesn’t generally leak out beyond those who live the experience, because there’s still some reverence for what is sacred about being with people in such vulnerable moments.

Something similar shows up in some activist circles — the ones where people do this work of trying to transform broken systems all the time. People make flippant comments about elected officials that they would never make in mixed company as a way of blowing off steam about their sisyphean task.

But there’s a fine line about who can make the jokes and to whom. And at the heart of it, I think, is hope. (more…)

Christmas values – day 3: peace

 I am sad about the Christmas tree in Jack London Square.

I have taken my niece to see it newly lit.

I have wandered the pop-up shops and wished I could afford to shop at them.

I have basked in the joy of Christmas that I’m lucky enough to experience because my family is whole and loving and enjoys being together.

And maybe I’ve been a bad ally, because I’ve really enjoyed having a few days where I only had to work a few hours a day and otherwise enjoy Christmas music and turkey and cake with my parents who are still mostly healthy and still very much with me.

If you’re not from Oakland, you may have missed the news.

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Christmas values — day 2: joy

I woke up this morning feeling sorry for homophobes.

If you know me, you might be surprised by this reaction, because I don’t tend to suffer intolerance. And at some point in my young life I realized that God doesn’t screw up people, so if God made people gay, I probably shouldn’t keep telling God to stop making mistakes.

But I realized afresh today that some of the people who have brought the most beauty and love into my life are LGBTQ. And people who want to make people “pray away the gay” (and hate away and threaten away and terrorize away the gay) clearly need more beauty and love in their lives. This, I know, is an incredibly straight-privileged position to take. If I were LGBTQ, I would probably be a lot angrier than most of my friends are at the world.

All of this came to me as I started thinking of a series I meant to start yesterday for the twelve days of Christmas, lifting up the values of Christmas and how I see them showing up in the world around me.

And not long after I woke up, I read an article about a couple who had “Faggots” scrawled into their apartment door and responded as follows:

front door

I was struck by the joy-over-pain bravery of the response, and I found myself thinking about how joy is a choice. (more…)

Longfellow, Belafonte and the dream of peace on earth at Christmas

It is VERY unusual for me to manuscript a sermon these days. Usually, I only do so if the sermon’s going to be translated. My style borders on folksy with occasional gospel-preaching ramp-ups, neither of which is well served by tightly managed wording or the temptation to glance down at the paper on the lectern.

This Sunday, words were so hard to find that I did manuscript–coincidentally on a very rare Sunday when our faithful videographer of the past several months was not able to be present. (more…)