Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

No emotion can rip to the bone like confronting the act of killing an innocent. But we don’t seem to really “get it” until we can get our mind around “someone like us.”

The people of the western world are shaken because the little children someone wantonly mowed down with a weapon were the kind we see waiting for school buses and playing soccer and acting in little school plays in our own community. In today’s news, it was the little ones in a privileged community in Connecticut, some of the more well-to-do, and so we are hearing much more press about the slaughter of these little ones. What we don’t seem to have room for in our sense of reality is that little children like these are suffering all the time and in similarly violent ways every day in all corners of our world, every day  in war-torn lands like Syria, and yes, in the cities and rural lands of our own country…the land of the free and home of the brave. We don’t hear about it, but it is going on all the time.  Every day.  Sometimes under our noses.

Some good folks are called to comfort a broken heart; they have the spirit and motivation and courage to spend every ounce of energy giving care to such tender and defenseless young human beings.Healers can be found in hospitals, and in shelters, where the press doesn’t come. It’s ordinary in these places for kindergarteners and ten year olds to own stories of violence and cruelty of the most vicious kind. But we are insulated from this heartache simply because it is so common and un-newsworthy, and we don’t “know’ these kids. They may be the kids of a different ethnicity, or of people who are not in our sort of world. They may be the children of immigrants, or children of the poor or children of addicted parents. Or they may be the hidden children of throngs of “regular” people we don’t know exist… groups we are not famiiar with. And they may be children in our own neighborhoods, behind doors with boughs of holly, and Christmas lights.

Now and again we are appalled to find that a child has been enduring violence every day for months and years on end. It appalls and sickens us. But we forget. We can’t believe it!

Personally, I have always had a strange reaction when my chidren are hurting: my sympathetic pain happens in my inner thighs..maybe because I bore my children by natural childbirth and my body remembers the very reality of that event. The power of parental love is desperately strong. A parent will fight for the life of their child. They will die for their child’s sake.

Remember the account of the Massacre of the Innocents …the devastating art rendition of people slaughtering babies in an effort to prevent the prophesy of Jesus to come true? I could never stand that story or those paintings. How, I wonder, can an artist spend time depicting such an event, without being somewhat depraved by the process?

Can we deal with this? What can be our best response, now that we are looking in the face of the suffering of parents and grandparents like us whose little ones have been shattered to pieces before their eyes?

Is there a way to care for people who have serious mental issues that are still at large and liable to “snap” and take some bloody fantasy as reality? Are we able to derail the culture of violence championed by our entertainment media…and why is it we are so drawn to violence, and attracted to guns and warfare? What makes a human a monster? What makes a human think that other humans are monsters? We are certainly at war with our own kind. We are killing ourselves.

The world is trying to end this way. We decry the “sweat shops” in other lands. Do we think of the actual people when they burn up, or starve? Are we aware that there are routine executions in North Korea of people who have been “ratted on” by their peers, simply because it will be someone else, not me, who will be executed?

Will the murder of Christ ever be recognized as the surrogate death of innocence? And will we ever stop killing God?

NOTE:  12-17-12,  it is still the subject of nearly every conversation,  and I am glad.  If we are appalled, let us get mileage out of this awful event.  Our laws need to be re-humanitized;  we must look at responsibility with as much fervor as we look at liberty.

Related excerpts below:

December 16 2012 : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/syria-refugee-camps_n_2310152.html

December 17 2012: http://gawker.com/5968818/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother

December 18, 2012:  http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/12/18/preventing-next-adam-lanza-requires-action-today/


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I have to wonder, this Christmas Day, 2011, whether it would be a good thing to spend the day with a newborn infant and his family in a stuffy, or drafty barn stable with beasts breathing grainy exhalations into our shared air, and moving their bodies around the stalls—I hear the horse shifting weight on the floor, and munching a morsel, and hear the barn cat mew, hoping for some handout from the strangely milky-smelling people who are camping in the corner.

We are suffering a near-Dickensian downturn in our society this year—people are hungry and homeless—a lot more people than we have ever had before, and it’s not “bums” and “panhandlers” who have chosen their fate, but we find ourselves mingling with those same people by another label,  unemployed,  foreclosed,  evicted for non payment of rent,  bankrupted by overwhelming debt, and without a place to put the stuff that used to be their lives.  Had we ever before thought about the real inner life of that panhandler who tried to hit us up in Pioneer Square, or wherever we happend to be shopping?

Some are young families who have little children and some are pregnant.  They will possibly deliver today.

Could it be that God is allowing us to suffer this difficult passage to put us in the stable with the child who came to save us?

What can we learn from being “away in the manger” with the Christ Child?  Straw is stickery, and the dust makes you sneeze.  It’s good to be near parents. Large beasts are warm. Stay away from their legs.   Even in a stable there is cuddling.  Food comes from the breast of the mother,  not from the supermarket.  The part of the group with the greater wealth of food, shelter, clothing support the ones who have nothing. The ones who know how to do things use their knowledge to help everyone.   Life is not a bowl of cherries.  There is discomfort, and temporary distress.  Dirt happens. Life goes on anyway, and there is joy and humor and goodness even in the most inconvenient circumstances.

Not all the inhabitants will live very long.  There are animals in this stable who are there for the express purpose of being dispatched summarily for the purpose of feeding the humans.  Life is not always kind.  But it has a carefully engineered way of getting to God’s purposes.  We don’t always get into the planning meetings.  And the child we honor today did not live long… only thirty some years.  But what he did in those thirty years changed everything, forever.

I am trying to put myself in the stable today.  I am a traveler, in a way…far from my family this Christmas although just down the highway by about two hours.  I got the flu or something that kept me from the festivities.  I have been in bed with rain on the roof and the computer in the corner along with the tea and Gatorade, and the bathroom happily around the corner.  Not exactly the stable.  It’s warm in here, and I am not having to clean stable sorts of stuff away to get from here to the kitchen.

It’s good to be quiet, I find.  All I have done other than keeping an eye on the email for messages from loved ones, is a lot of not successful Sudokus!  Well I did solve some,  but my brain doesn’t think it’s important to really solve them.  Just to exercise as much as is good, and then to quit when it becomes stressful.  I’m only sorta good at Sudoku.

So, I am heading back to my bedroll, with my bottle of Gatorade, and a freshly filled hot water bottle.  The kids will call later on and give me a report.  The best part is the report from the four and six year old youngest grandchildren.

Mary and Joseph didn’t have a phone.  I will try to remember that.

Old Swimmer  going back to Sudoku

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