By Andrea Price a_price1
I recently listened to a message by Rev. William Lamar IV, pastor of Metropolitan AME Church, entitled “I’m Dreaming of a Scandalous Christmas”. His sermon title is a play on words made famous by Bing Crosby who sang, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to …” you know the rest. I reflected on Rev. Lamar’s message and the song and asked my self, “What kind of Christmas do I dream of?”
To answer the question, “What kind of Christmas do I dream of?” I had to go back to the basics, the story of Christmas. The story of Christmas often told on made-for-TV movies and in church plays, for example, is often sanitized, perfect and a feel good story. The unabridged story of Christmas consists of miracles, oppression, rejection, murder, refuge, politics, justice and humility. The major themes in this version of Christmas are universal and very relevant to modern times. For example, miracles are experienced when babies born at 5 months gestational age survive and thrive. Many visible signs of oppression are reflected when millions declare; “I Can’t Breath” or when children are forced to become soldiers. Rejection is experienced many times when ex-offenders have to check the box. Murder, where do I begin? There are refugees throughout the world who leave their native lands. Politics and justice issues are dominating the narratives of many countries and the lives of many citizens. Lastly, the humility in the Christmas story is reflected when people sacrifice a piece of themselves for people and causes greater than themselves. This humility is evident in every community in every part of the world. Yes, the major themes in the un-sanitized version of Christmas are universal. I don’t know why these themes are not lifted more often when the story of Christmas is told.
The un-sanitized version is the version that makes me uncomfortable enough to not want the type of Christmas Bing wanted. The un-sanitized version forces me to dream beyond gifts, reindeer and even snow, and leaves me with many questions. “How can I better support and protect children? How do I confront and deal with oppression and oppressive leadership and laws?” How do I respond to conflict? How do I handle rejection? How can I support refugees in my community? What is peace? What is justice? How do I show more humility and embody ubuntu?”
After reflecting on these questions, I began to dream my Christmas dream. The Christmas that I dream of is one that doesn’t start and stop in December. The Christmas that I dream of is one where all children are taught, nourished and loved. The Christmas that I dream of is one where people throughout the world work to break the chains of oppression and replace the chains with jewels of love, hope, and understanding. The Christmas that I dream of is one where conflict walks hand in hand with forgiveness and reconciliation. The Christmas that I dream of is one where rejection is the author of invention. The Christmas that I dream of is one where peace becomes the status quo, because violence is too great of a burden to bear. The Christmas that I dream of is one where justice is a reality for everyone. The Christmas that I dream of is one where our common humanity is enough for people to love and support each other. The Christmas that I dream of is one where giving, not getting, in a requisite for citizenship. A girl has to dream big right!?
As we celebrate this Christmas season, remember that the ideals and principles embodied in this special time of year don’t start and stop in December. The path to making the world a better place starts with an idea, a dream. Keep dreaming, be comfortable being uncomfortable, and commit to making your Christmas dreams come true!