Wonder Boi Writes

Christmas Song Blog Day 10 – In The Bleak Midwinter

Today we went to church, and I spent most of my time there working with our children, who are rehearsing their Christmas play for next week.  It’s a great play, and I have loved every single run-through. That being said, it was a very long hour and half, wrangling kids and costumes and trying to figure out what sounds a camel makes that a 5-year-old can make.  It was a happy kind of exhausting.  I didn’t get a break to really think of much beyond the needs of the minute until I went back into the sanctuary for Communion.  You see, our church has recently switched from a mostly-open communion to a fully open one.  From a theological standpoint, this means that anyone who understand the basic tenants of what communion is and would like to receive it, is welcome to do so.  What this means from a practical standpoint is that several of our Sunday-school children now go back into the church service to take communion.

That’s probably a long way around to saying that while I sat there in the near silence while we received the bread and wine (grape juice), I start thinking again about the kids and the play and how well they’d done with it. They’d written it very much with the current political climate in mind.  They all know what’s happening.  They’re all so much more aware than most adults give them credit for.  They listen, they process, they talk among themselves. They stand to lose a lot, and whether you want to believe it not, many of them know it.

I felt overwhelmed with the weight of responsibility I bear for them.  If I am feeling helpless right now, I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be a kid, to watch the grown-ups grieve and struggle and argue and get it wrong.  At least I can sign petitions and call Senators and donate to campaigns or organizations.  The kids write Christmas plays with not-so-subtle messages about greed and hope and fear.  The kids put on costumes and deliver short, serious lines while wearing sheep hats.  The kids lift their trembling voices, hoping that when their big moment comes they might be heard by the church elders in the back of the sanctuary.

The last song of service was “In The Bleak Midwinter,” and the last line of the song is as follows:

What then can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb. If I were a wiseman, I would know my part. But what can I give Him? Give him my heart.

I got a little choked up because these kids get it a lot better than the adults.  We all might give freely of our time and energy. I have given a lot of anger, too.  But I am not sure any of us have given our hearts the way these kids have.  I don’t know that I’m capable of it. I have learned to protect that part of myself.  I’ve seen so much pain and been disappointed by my fellow humans so many times, I think I always hold part of me in reserve. I wonder if it’s that part I hold back, the part I isolate and keep to myself though that’s the hardest to heal right now.

Maybe that’s what make these kids so resilient. It’s not that they don’t get it. It’s that they get it better than we adults do. They give their entire heart to everything they do, even if the odds are against them.  Even if they are out numbered.  Even if their voices don’t reach the balcony. Even if they are only playing the sheep, especially if they are only playing the sheep.

They get that it’s only by giving their whole hearts that they get to heal their whole hearts.


December 11, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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