The Darkness of the Womb: #MeToo and the Black Madonna

by Jasmin Morrell

In this season, I drink in silence whenever I have the opportunity to engage it, whenever I become aware that I need it. No matter how hard I try each year to create space around the holidays, to be less busy, to say no to overload, I find myself craving even more simplicity, more presence offered and received. In the past week I arrived an entire day early to not one, but two different appointments and had to ruefully smile at myself for allowing my calendar descend into chaos. And in those moments, after something has fallen through the cracks, I take a breath and let the silence do its work. It’s interesting what happens then: sometimes grief’s sinewy fingers tighten around my throat; sometimes my thoughts continue to race and that spot just between my eyebrows feels achy and tight; sometimes love warms my belly and bleeds into my fingertips; sometimes joy feels like a sunrise in my chest.

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“It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”—New Verses to Beloved Carol

“It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” is a 19th century American carol created in the context of war which addresses its horror directly.

Despite this, it offers hope and a plea for peace.

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Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming—New Verses for Advent/Christmas Carol

This beloved carol originated in a 16th century German monastery. Legend
has it that a monk was inspired to create it after a Christmas Eve forest walk during
which he saw a blooming rose. The imagery is based on Isaiah 11:1 referring to
the Branch of Jesse, a central Messianic symbol: “There shall come forth a shoot
from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.”

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Cultivating Wonder

In this hectic season help us to remember,
even the simplest actions count.
Let us pause and take a breath
to feel the miracle
of air filling and emptying within,
as though God is breathing into us.

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I Wonder as I Wander (Appalachia)

Words and Music collected by John Jacob Niles Revised words by Tina Datsko de Sanchez

I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
How Jesus our Rabbi did teach that we try 
To love one another, no you and no I…
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.

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Reverence and Relevance – First Sunday of Advent

On this first Sunday of Advent, consider the new that is coming. Take some time to discover what you are most missing in your life – and then give that thing away. Where you long for a friend to support you, instead be the friend who calls another to find out if they are well. When you long to know peace, instead be the non-anxious presence during times of tension. Where you long for community and connection, be the heartbeat of whatever group you are with. When you long to feel less afraid, be the hand that reaches out with generosity. When you long to know your presence here matters, be the gift of welcoming.

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Two Favorite American Christmas Carols

Two Favorite American Christmas Carols

“It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” and “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” are both 19th century American carols created in the context of war which address its horror directly.

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Advent is Always Arriving

A Not So Obvious Message

For instance, most everyone I know contends that the mustard seed parable (Matthew 13:31-32) is about faith. I think that’s an easy route to take. When you read the parable, on the surface it’s about something tiny growing into a large tree or bush, and it seems to make sense why someone may think it’s about faith. For me the power in Jesus’ teachings is that he posited the NOT SO OBVIOUS, in order to short-circuit and dismantle our conventional ways of thinking and being.

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 34: Experiencing God as Light, A Christmas Lesson

Download the PDF of A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson #34 – “Experiencing God as Light” right into your digital device. God can be experienced as light, visible to the physical eyes and as a universal inner reality.

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 35: Experiencing God as Joy, A Christmas Lesson

We know true joy when we experience the reality of God’s presence within. The word joy is used at Christmastime so often that it is almost synonymous with the season. When we have an inner awareness of the presence of God, we experience joy. When we celebrate the birth of Christ, we celebrate that living presence born on earth. Joyful day! God’s presence can be experienced in every moment of our lives when we become aware that the reality of God never changes; it is not dependent on circumstance or season.

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The Wise Man’s Confession

What wisdom I have
Awakens me to my blindness.
I cannot see light itself:
What I know of light
Is only an alluring shadow
Of what it is and does.

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Way Back When: Christmas Oranges – Christmas Eve Sermon

While we’re busy explaining that the birth stories about Jesus of Nazareth are really parables and not history, and others are trying to prove or disprove the details of the nativity myths, the Christ in our Mass is all but forgotten. While so people continue to bandy the word Christ around as if it were Jesus’ last name, far too many of us have forgotten what the church has been teaching for centuries.

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Remember our homeless LGBTQ youth this holiday season

Although Christmas is mostly thought of in terms of feasting and celebrating, Jesus’s, birth — like his death — was born of struggle, and that struggle was to be fully accepted. Similarly, when I think of the birth of Jesus, one of the themes that looms large for me is LGBTQ youth and young adult homelessness.

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The Child Who Calls Us to Evolve

Why do we care so deeply for the child born to Mary and Joseph in a Bethlehem cave and not the millions of other children born into a poverty of one kind or another? Is it because of who he became, or simply because we can only care for one person at a time?

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Time for a “Christmas Truce”

I want to declare a “Christmas truce” in the growing chorus of worry about churches, complaining about churches, wishing that churches could get with modernity, and all the lamenting and fussing and blaming and bickering.

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Toward a more than literal and more than rational and more than capitalist Christmas!

The stories of the Nativity need not be factual but mythically they are immensely powerful. The artists who composed them knew what they were doing—they catch the deep imagination and yearnings of the human heart for justice for the poor and in doing so offer what is in many ways the essence of the Christ path—that Good News will come to the poorest (the shepherds) and the four-legged ones (ox and sheep) will be in a privileged place and that Divinity is young—a child—not just an old, bearded fellow.

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Little Bear – Winter Solstice – Snowbound (Video)

This lovely video would be wonderful to share with the little ones during Winter time. Little Bear is an educational Canadian children’s animated series based on the Little Bear series of books written by Else Holmelund Minarik, and illustrated by Maurice Sendak.

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Searching for the Christmas Spirit

Searching for the Christmas spirit –
Is it heard when angels sing?
Is it found in deeds of merit?
Is it heard when church bells ring?
Come and treasure Jesus’ memory;
All the beauty it can bring.

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