The thing about those wild once-upon-a-time stories is that the good ones are always more true than we imagine. They can touch us profoundly. So here’s one: Once upon a time there was a little girl. A lost girl. Before I share more, though, let me say, as if it needs saying,
Eat. Read. Pray. Fly out the door. School mornings this is the routine in our home. A recent reading was about waiting. Cereal went into empty stomachs. I closed the book and made a comment about slowness. The children’s mother said, “But remember, with God a day is like
Love, if it’s the real deal, can be an uneasy affair. Even for a king in a story like this one. It’s a story about his kingdom, and choice, and existentialism, even as it’s a story about these days. Yes, once there was this king who was in love: madly and deeply and hopelessly. His power was unrivaled, but his heart melted for a simple maiden in a poor village.
(The Hamilton Spectator - Saturday, December 24, 2016) MUKONO, UGANDA ✦ It was just past sunrise in Congo at a mission refugee camp. This is when I walked into it. It was a certain and gentle light. It was in a church. I was alone. It wasn't much of a church, just plain with a dirt floor and simple benches and open ceiling. The space was empty. Still. Voiceless.
(The Hamilton Spectator - Monday, January 4, 2016) MUKONO, UGANDA ✦ It was evening and dark and dozens of voices, mostly African, by candlelight and under bright stars, were singing carols in front of our long-time East African home. It was a moment to reflect on the days ending 2015, and a moment, also, when I was asked to say a word. “So where does everyone go at Christmas?” I asked the kids more than anyone. “Home!” they yelled into the night air.
Today’s post is a wish for a blessed Christmas for you and yours, a wish for peace and joy and all the things that (thank you, Paul) are to be seen at least through a hazy mirror even here and now, imperfectly yes, the sort of things of the heart that one day we [...]
(The Hamilton Spectator - Saturday, December 20, 2014) ISTANBUL, TURKEY ✦It was a Sunday, the first day of Advent, en route from Hamilton to my African home, when I toured the Old City here, a place where religions and cultures and empires have collided for centuries. This is when my guide for the day said what he did. I had asked him about some historic notes and holy relics in the Topkapi Palace Museum, items identified as thousands of years old from ancient Israel, but looking dubiously more modern and Ottoman-like, when he told me as plainly as if he was giving the weather report that, "It's all mythology anyway. Whatever you believe is true, that's the truth."
The beauty of Christmas is that you don't have to have it all together to join the choir. In fact, it's more fitting if you're off-key, that is, if you're less than perfect, if you're common. In the most common of places, after all, is where the first Christmas was experienced. By the most common of people. [...]