O Holy Night
This is a guest post from Tara Livesay. Tara is a gifted writer, a fellow worker and soon-to-be midwife doing what we’re getting ready to do in terms of providing maternity care to some of the “least of these”. Tara and her family live and work in Haiti with Heartline Ministries. You can read more of Tara’s blogs here.
O Holy Night
Every direction you turn, images of Christmas are evident.
You need not look far to find beautiful and thoughtful displays, tastefully decorated homes with glowing trees, and rows and rows of symmetrical twinkling lights. Step into one of these homes and the warm fire will greet you as you breathe in fresh scents of pine and cinnamon. It is beautiful and clean and so.very.pristine.
Looking upon these exquisite arrangements one senses order and peace.
How did our celebration of this day become so clean and crisp? Where are the smells and sweat and tears that were most certainly a part of Mary and Joseph’s journey?
It begs the question: Do ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ scenes with sparkling lights and gorgeous decorations reflect the Christmas story best? Are the experiences of a frightened and ashamed teenage mother-to-be anything like that?
Do the marginalized and suffering in our world experience Christmas more like Mary and Joseph did – or do we?
I long for a day when disparity and injustice ends. I dream of a Christmas were no child is enslaved, abused, and sold. I pray for the glorious morn, where the oppressed are free. I long to wake up to learn that no child is suffering or slowly starving to death. I dream of a day when people from every continent and every nation celebrate Jesus and His birth surrounded by love, joy, dancing, singing and immeasurable peace and beauty and justice.
Truthfully I also find great inspiration in the simple, dingy, gritty, humble celebrations of those who struggle and toil without access to our unstained images of Christmas. I long for their stripped down total dependence on God. I pray for spiritual wealth like that of the materially poor. I want their depth. I want their undying hope. I want a Christmas less like Oprah’s and more like theirs.
Our youngest daughter Lydia has been struggling with choices. When offered a choice of two things she’ll often reply, “I want two ones.” When she says that, she means I want them both.
As I soak in Christmas this year I find myself wanting two ones. I want the perfect looking, delicious smelling, pain free and unpolluted Christmas and I want the dirty, stinky, humble, difficult, but miraculous Christmas that Mary and Joseph and the rich in faith experience.
The end of death.
The end of suffering.
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