Interdependent Web: During the season of merry, we cannot look away

Interdependent Web: During the season of merry, we cannot look away

A weekly roundup of blogs and other user-generated web content about Unitarian Universalism.

Heather Christensen


During the season of merry

Lynn Ungar asks, “Who stops being afraid because someone tells you?”

An angel says it to Mary. And to Joseph.
“Fear not.” As if that would undo
the panic of the moment, let alone
all the hardship to come.

The story never says
if Mary or Joseph or the shepherds
were comforted by these fear-denying angels.

Likely not. But all of them moved forward,
did the next thing that was to be done,
which is about all you can ask. (Facebook, 12.19.18)

David Miller writes that, “5 days before Christmas and this year I know, the world she’ll keep turning despite Washington’s reality TV show.”

Our children we pray will grow up to be,
With kindness and compassion more than known currently.
But now as we turn from this world that we know,
We look to a story that occurred long ago. . . .

Let’s note that the story, told this time of year,
Can be hopeful and kind and not filled with fear. (Facebook, 12.20.18)

Joanna Fontaine Crawford remembers “Christmases past, . . . layered one on top of the other, on top of the other.”

The years of joy, the years of sorrow, too.
Layers upon layers upon layers.
We say, enjoy this day, this Christmas will never come again.
But it will.
In the memories, the stories, the fragile ornaments and sturdy recipes
This Christmas will come again and again. (Facebook, 12.20.18)

Hanna Clements-Hart, who lost her brother 25 years ago on Thanksgiving Day, loves the holiday season, even with the pain it carries.

I’m struck by how often joy and sadness live side by side in us, and how quickly we flip from one to the other or even feel both at the same time. Yet what we show the world usually leaves out the heartache. My Facebook page gives no hint of my holiday blues.

This year I heard the word “Thanksgrieving” for the first time, and it spoke to me of what I already knew: That for so many, the public celebration masks inner pain. We all carry our own private minefields. (KQED Perspectives, 12.18.18)

Vanessa Southern suggests a Marie Kondo approach to joy-filled holidays.

[This] season and all its talk of “Merry” . . . . is as good a time as any to bring some focus back on joy, and on the practice of figuring out what sparks it for us, and what it feels like when it shows up in our bodies or our world (or even in our lunch bag).

So, I say, throw on your ugly Christmas sweater, my friends. Then ask, “Does this spark joy in me?” and if it does, wear it with abandon. If it doesn’t, then figure out where your portal to merry-making resides and blow the damn thing off its hinges. (Medium, 12.17.18)

Helen Rose offers a lighthearted list of reason why Santa is probably a UU.

Santa’s list objectively reflects whether a person has been naughty or nice throughout the year. We are free to be naughty or nice, though not without consequences. The consequences, however, are not harsh or excessively punitive. Didn’t make the nice list this year? Here’s some coal – we’ll try again next year. And then, we get a blank slate. I’ve never heard of Santa taking one’s previous naughty list status into consideration for the next year. (I Am a Journey, 12.18.18)

Liz James reassures us that we are not failing Christmas.

Mostly, we make do. That is the real story of Christmas. Making do with a barn and a family with some heavy paternity questions going on. Making do with a festival that gets kind of jerry-rigged to keep it alive and avoid persecution. . . .

And you, with your best you can not perfect efforts, fit right into that story. You are not failing Christmas. You are doing Christmas exactly right. (Facebook, 12.17.18)

We cannot look away

Particularly at this time of year, it’s tempting to look away from the world’s suffering; Erika Hewitt reminds us that we simply cannot do that.

Over and over, I’ve witnessed us rising to the occasion of fighting for our values & our vision . . . before falling back into exhaustion, or feeling guilty for the small, silly pleasures that are as vital as oxygen to our suffocating hearts. . . .

I have no answers, here at the bottom of the well. All I know is that we—especially we with the most privilege, which is another way of saying The Least to Lose—can’t look away. We can’t stop resisting, or “spelling” one another in turns. (Facebook, 12.15.18)

Happy holidays! The Interdendent Web is on vacation next week and will be back in the new year.