This is our annual Christmas poem, from hearts broken by 2016. It is a reminder of the travails of a certain refugee family long ago, and the fears and woes of our world today. It is a Christmas lament, written for anyone who feels cast out, without shelter...anyone whose refuge, whose Zion, was shattered by 2016. Peace on Earth, good will to all is our fervent prayer.
Dear Friends and Family,
We sat down and wept
Since we sent out last year’s poem a number of things happened which made Mike write a lament for our annual poem. We lost two people in Mike's family (Aunt Helen and Uncle Barry). We lost Dana's dad’s wife Amy. The head of Dana's department at work died after a very brief fight against brain cancer. Mike’s school cut several positions; his was one of them. Our nephew Brandon deployed to Afghanistan. Dana's priest is retiring next month. And Donald Trump is the new president-elect.
And remembered Zion, our refuge
In response to all of that, it feels as if our safe place, our refuge, has been shattered – we grieve, we wail, we post epic rants on Facebook. And, we decide to move back to North Carolina, possibly in late winter or early spring. Dana will keep her same job, and Mike will spend time with his father and replenish his emotional resources. Whatever 2017 brings, we’ll face it with feet firmly planted on the red clay of home.
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down,
yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
Upon the willows in the midst thereof
we hanged up our harps. For there they
that led us captive required of us songs,
and they that wasted us required of us mirth,
saying, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion.’ How
shall we sing the LORD'S song in a strange land?
Psalm 137: 1-4
It is a season of lament—
Unwed mother, pregnant, stunned, shunned.
Older tradesman viewed with cynical suspicion
As he cares for the living vessel of Presence.
Zion shattered, they cling to each other and God.
It is a season of great worry—
New accounting, and, always, taxes to be paid.
Difficult journeys to be taken and retaken
With no clear vision of what the future holds.
Quo vadis? Where are you going? Do you know?
It is a season of homelessness—
In one fell day, secure shelters can vanish.
Cast off, adrift, wandering, we wonder…
Many of us feel mocked, displaced, rejected.
Is there room for us at the tables being set?
It is a season of faith leaps—
A weary couple seeking a new life, yet again.
Together struggling with the real, hard now,
Yet ever walking hand in hand the road
Before them, delicate steps, but walking still.
Have faith in this season of uncertainty—
By strange waters we have sat down and wept,
All of us, as we have mourned unsettling loss.
Our refuge shattered, we were unable to sing.
But in time, we each fetched our harps. Amen!
We SHALL overcome…
Mike & DanaChristmas 2016