Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sharon's Christmas Prayer

She was five,
sure of the facts,
and recited them
with slow solemnity
convinced every word
was revelation.

She said
they were so poor
they had only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
to eat
and they went a long way from home
without getting lost. The lady rode
a donkey, the man walked, and the baby
was inside the lady.
They had to stay in a stable
with an ox and an ass (hee-hee)
but the Three Rich Men found them
because a star lited the roof.
Shepherds came and you could
pet the sheep but not feed them.
Then the baby was borned.
And do you know who he was?
Her quarter eyes inflated
to silver dollars.
The baby was God.

And she jumped in the air
whirled around, dove into the sofa
and buried her head under the cushion
which is the only proper response
to the Good News of the Incarnation.

– John Shea, The Hour of the Unexpected

Via Tale Spin (via Felix Hominum)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thanks Dan

No animals were injured in the process of making this video. A number of mice were possibly a little pissed off.


Thought for the Day
Good Morning Scotland
Radio Scotland
Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

It’s those Christmas cards. They leave us with a series of still images in our heads. Our Lady and St Joseph on either side of a manger, the shepherds looking up into the sky, Wise men standing quietly at the door with gifts in their hands.

Hearing the story read, however, offers a very different perspective. Great changes are promised. Angels appear in the darkest bit of the night to shepherds and announce that the old order is being overturned. The universe is on the cusp of tremendous and wonderful change.

We know what the ‘old order’ is – it’s what we wake up to on Boxing Day - bills to pay - work piling up on our desk. The same damned thing. And the newspapers - filled once again with headlines about the bloody conflict on the border of Israel and the Gaza strip. The world, it seems, didn’t change overnight. When is this novel departure announced by the angel going to take place?

People are constantly migrating in the Christmas story – hither and yon. It’s movement and not stasis – to Bethelem – towards the star – away from the sheep - into the town. No matter how much the new thing is God’s thing and is something that God is going to enact himself the human actors have to move in order to witness it and participate in it.

Peacemaking is rarely a case of sitting still and seeing what will happen. We know what will happen on its own. Peace in a poisonous office environment requires people moving together into each other’s proximity. Peace within a family requires time spent at each other’s tables – front doors being opened to people we’ve not been getting on with. All the glimmers of hope in the Middle East in past years have involved travel as well – old enemies greeting each other at the bottom of steps leading down from an aircraft.

We’ll file away those Christmas cards in the coming week. The invitation to make peace and to be active citizens of a new kingdom will remain.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Edinburgh's Hogmanay

The four day celebrations began this evening with the torchlight procession leaving from the City Chambers, down the Mound, along Princes Street and up Calton Hill. There were lots and lots of us with torches. The evening ends with the burning of a viking longboat and a large Lion Rampant up on top of the hill.