... and I haven't stopped believing. I will always be a Believer. That's a little difficult for some to accept considering:

* my 2007 divorce
* my political stances (don't worry ~ we'll skip a detailed discussion and stop at saying it's separate from what many conservative churches ascribe to)
* my work in secular agencies.

It's ok. It's ok, because in the end, I know I'm kept close to the heart of a supremely loving, supremely forgiving, supremely big God.

Hence, this time of year is heart wrenchingly poignant for me. The birth of Jesus, yes, (well, kind of. december is as good a time as any to celebrate the birth, even though Jesus probably made his manager appearance sometime near the end of September), but more than that, the heart of God. The heart of God in that people choose this time of year to open up to others. To serve at soup kitchens. To give to toy drives. To donate coats. (I call it the heart of God. You may call it decency, good will, responsibility, love ... and I respect that you see it differently.)

Trust me, I also see the commercialism. But I choose to focus elsewhere. I also see a year long need for people to open themselves up to the needs of other human-beings, and not just at Christmas, but I choose to focus on the good that comes out of people during this season. Is it enough?

Dear hearts, trust me. It's never enough. There's an entire, shocking world of people out there who are hungry, who are homeless, who are hurting, who are confused, who are amazing, who are real and who are no different from me. It won't be enough until we all take each other seriously, but until then, it is appreciated in ways that are inherently humbling.

My very liberal Master's program often references the early church as an outstanding model of social work. Caring for the poor, the widowed, the orphaned are themes peppered throughout the Old Testament. Jesus quite literally told his followers to sell their possessions and give to the poor (Luke 12:33). (May we be forgiven for trying amongst ourselves to determine who are the worthy poor.) If Jesus said that when we take care of the widow and prisoner, we also take care of Him, why do we think these people are so different than us? We're one. I'm getting a graduate degree so I can help people on very human, interrelated levels.

I choose to celebrate that this holiday season - how we are connected and how we are extensions of each other and how we are wholly separate all at the same time. Me. You. Us.

The heart of God is this infinite universe of discovery, acceptance and love. I choose to celebrate that this holiday season.

And despite all of the very serious hurt I see daily, I choose to celebrate the resilience that lies deep within us.

May this New Year bring you peace and deep insight. May you feel it in the very core of who you are. May you breath deeply. Truly.

The best and purest of this Season's greetings to you, Dear Hearts.  Merry Christmas.


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