Friday, December 21, 2012

Peace?

I have been thinking a lot about Christmas and what it all means. I don't know if I really know but I guess one has to try and understand a little bit... and then a little more... and a little more as one goes on.

I have been reading about Syria since the trouble started. The fighting, the anger, the violence, and looking at pictures of people having to leave their homes and their lives just so that they can keep their children alive. Families carrying what they can haul on their backs (including small children) pleading at barbed wired borders for entry into what they hope will be a safer place.

I have been hearing stories of neglected children in lands of peace. Of abuse and violence in the home. Of cycles of generational violence transferred from parent to child to parent to child. The things people say and do to their children sometimes is just cruel.

And just now I heard about how close to 27 kindergarten children were killed by a gunman. And I just can't...

What the... how are we supposed to deal with this? How are those parents supposed to go on? How are those children who survived going to sleep again?

"Peace on Earth" we sing.... Peace on Earth. Well the conditions were no different really. The birth of Jesus caused the death of thousands of babies right? Herod got them. Violence, war, massacre, genocide... they are part of human history... so what is Christmas? What is this Peace on Earth?

I don't know. I don't know.

My husband, a few years ago wrote an Advent Reading and called it "Weeping Peace". You can read the reading here: Candle of Peace.

He's all about the tension of human existence. The fact that good and bad, joy and pain, peace and war coexist. You cannot have one without the other. (As I understand it. I am sure he can say it better).

There is something very raw about the Christmas Story ... about God ... that gets covered up in glitter this time of the year. We have to go back and find that rawness. The grime and dirt of the stable. The fear and anxiety of Mary and Joseph. The threat to a baby's life and the death of the children.

Life and death go hand in hand. Baby is born... babies are killed. Baby is born. Baby will be killed 30 odd years later.

Life and death. Life and death.
Peace and violence. Peace and violence.
Love and hate. Love and hate.
Joy and despair. Joy and despair.

There is one or the other. And there is both at once.