Rest ye merry

I didn’t post this on the 25th because I don’t actully want to ruin your Christmas. It’s been a hard year, we’ve all worked hard and most of us want to hold our loved ones close and not think any hard thoughts for a while.

But when I reflect on the words of many of the carols, on the messages about consumption, “beauty” (in the narrow and privileged sense), and the good life at Christmas I see a disconnect between the lavish and smug way we sink into our entitlement about excesses of food, piles of presents for the children to swim in, and new decorations year after year.

Our poor planet. Where is the Wisdom in this? Would the shepherds even be welcome at our table? Would the Herods of our modern world feel remotely threatened by the joy we claim?

I don’t want to think these thoughts, I want to rest but they come to me like a plaintive call by a widow to an unjust judge. They sit next to the pain in my heart where the church I grew up in consistently labels me as “sinful”, for my lack of conformity to the phallocentric world-view that is all too comfortable with inequities. I will speak my truth.

On whom “His” favour rests

The children gather with joy

so cute with garlands of tinsel and bells.

The Great King comes again

enthroned among us with many gifts.

We come to do him homage,

to receive his bounty and sing him songs.

We eat our fill and more,

laugh in contentment and rest full of peace

and one last piece of cake.

“Peace on earth” we say

deluded by our overfull troughs,

our beautifully decorated sties of contentment.

Behind barbed wire and in war-torn lands,

newborn again

scrawny wisdom without beauty, without majesty

wails her hungry plea

unheard among our joyful carols.

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