Throngs of Angels Singing and Bells Wildly Ringing

As a child, I cherished memories of candle-lit churches smelling of greens, filled with choirs and organ music and the pealing of the bells.

It’s odd, reflecting back, that so many beloved memories are of celebrations of sound that paid homage to the story. As soon as days become shorter and nights grow colder, my heart opens, waiting, waiting, waiting for proclamations and celebrations of Peace on Earth. 

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The Animals at Midwinter

Many traditions tell stories about how, in the deep of MidWinter, if we listen closely, we can hear the animals talking.

As a child, when I heard about this, I believed, hoping against hope, they would say something special to me — just me. Ah, the self-centeredness of childhood and the deep trusting faith. I believed, because I wanted to, that there was only one special night when they would call our names, rather than there being only one special night when we would deign to listen.

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“The Dark, Sacred Night”*

On the first of December, in my little town, we celebrated the December sky and the encroaching Dark. Working with Fact, Story, and Music, we discovered stars, watched a grandfather assume the responsibility of being a revolving earth while a little one embodied the Sun with so much dignity and finesse. We learned how to find the North Star and wondered if it would help us find our way home. We heard the Gong whisper the night sounds of winter as together, we formed a tree and became a connected living entity that slowly transformed into a festival of lights.

The glittering sky was, in that moment, all the holiday we needed and everyone was invited.

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Kerfluffles Are Not the Way of Peace

Kerfluffles are not the way of Peace.This has been a hard but useful lesson for me. What’s a kerfluffle you ask? According to Google, it is “a commotion or fuss, especially one caused by conflicting views.” Think of it as indirect or inappropriately directed complaints that cause an upset, but do to solve a problem. I am somewhat conflict avoidant, which might surprise people who don’t know me well. I easily speak up on behalf of someone else, but I have been known to complain indirectly, to the wrong people, about something with which they have nothing to do and no power to make a difference. Which, in essence, is whining and gossiping — kerfluffling. Ew.

Complaining and making a fuss are not Peacemaking activities. They are, however, very easily engaged in, human activities. How do you respond when you observe these behaviors in others? My reaction is to get huffy, most likely because they offer me an opportunity to gaze into a mirror at my own unlovely, kerfluffling expression.

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