Dixie Darr

Starry Night

In Advent, Christmas on December 11, 2018 at 7:56 pm

Literary Advent Calendar, Day 10

The most enduring symbol of the season is a star, the star that led the wise men to Bethlehem. As stars only reveal themselves at night they also represent the darkness of Advent.

Living in the city, I don’t see many stars, but on those occasions when I look up at those unimaginably distant lights in the sky, they always make me feel small and unimportant. They make me wonder how and why we got here. Nothing seems less likely than our little lives on this microscopic speck of a planet in an out-of-the-way corner of the vast universe. And yet here we are looking up at the stars.

Maybe like me, when you gaze at the night sky, you hear Jiminy Cricket singing in the back of your mind,

“When you wish upon a star,
Makes no difference who you are,
Anything your heart desires,
Will come to you.”

A hundred years ago, Pastor Albert W. Beaven wrote, “The real Christmas experience for anyone is the turning on of the light within, which comes from the spirit of the indwelling Christ. It is still his incoming that makes the difference between a darkened inn and a glorified stable.”

Here’s to using this Christmas season for finding that light within and becoming a beacon for goodness.

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Whirled Peas

In Advent, Christmas, Uncategorized on December 10, 2018 at 11:16 am

Literary Advent Calendar, Day 9

You’ve no doubt heard of the Christmas truce in 1914 during WWI.

“In the week leading up to the 25th, French, German, and British soldiers crossed trenches to exchange seasonal greetings and talk. In some areas, men from both sides ventured into noman’s land on Christmas Eve and Christmas day to mingle and exchange food and souvenirs. There were joint burial ceremonies and prisoner swaps, while several meetings ended in carol-singing. Men played games of football with one another,givingone of the most memorable images of the truce.”

It’s a sweet story and one that can make us believe that world peace is possible, if only for a day.

The war went on for almost four years after this interlude and while there were apparently scattered attempts to duplicate this brief armistice in following years, the leadership on both sides put a stop to it. It’s harder to kill people if you see them as, well, people.

I try not to dwell on what happened after Christmas. The troops returned to fighting–killing or wounding about 40 million people, both military and civilians, one of the deadliest conflicts in human history.

Still, the fact that it happened once gives me hope that it could someday happen again. And maybe we could stretch it out to last for more than a single day. One day at a time, as they say in AA.

All it takes is the slightest shift in perspective, an invasion of hope, an infusion of love. Why is that so hard?

Light One Candle for Peace

In Advent, Christmas, Church on December 9, 2018 at 4:21 pm

Literary Advent Calendar, Day 8

The biblical Christmas story really doesn’t offer much peace. We have a controversial pregnancy, a difficult cross-country journey, no room at the inn, and a desperate escape to a foreign land.

So, today, for the start of the second week of advent, a week where we celebrate peace, I offer you a secular celebration of stillness.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

By Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.  
The only other sounds the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,  
And miles to go before I sleep.