'This Isn't Bethlehem'

Many of us in Southern Manitoba are supporters of Inner City Youth Alive -- the  child and Youth drop in centre which is active in North Wpg. The most recent Newsflash from ICYA caught our attention. It's poem from community minister Andrew Reimer who grew up in Steinbach...and it's entitled, This isn't Bethlehem. We asked Andrew to share it for our radio family today, and he also explained the context of the writing

Here is "This isn't Bethlehem"



Elexis Penner Blog: Christmas To-Do List: Wait.

Stained Glass Secrets

by: Elexis Penner

Christmas To-Do List: Wait


No one needed to be lifted up to put the Star on the tree this year.


One of our Christmas traditions is that after the tree is lit and decorated, one of the kids puts the Star on top – they take turns each year. Somehow they always know whose year it is.


We used to have to lift someone up every year. Then one year our oldest could reach it unaided, and some years there was lifting and some years there wasn’t. This year it was our youngest’s turn, and she could easily reach the top.


That’s it. No more. The end. Bruce hoisting one of our kids up as they try to attach the star (without taking the whole tree down) will never happen again.


That moment of realization for me was one of those marital dull spots that sends Bruce into panic mode. “OK, she’s crying. WHY is she crying? I did something. What did I do? Maybe I didn’t do something.. What did I forget??!! THE KIDS DID SOMETHING!! Yeah, it was the kids…”


It wasn’t him and it wasn’t the kids. It was me and my new hobby – letting go. It is not something I picked up because I thought it would be interesting or relaxing – like knitting. It was foisted upon me against my will. I have trouble with change at the best of times. Just the suggestion of something as benign as giving up my preferred laundry detergent prompts a clenched-teeth, heel-dug-in response of, “You’ll have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands…”


But I’m finding that letting go might be the only real way to get anywhere.


With four teenagers (well, three, and one banging on the door), I’m trying to make time slow down, but it’s not working. And annual Christmas traditions seem to highlight how much things change from one year to the next.


It seems like yesterday that Bruce and one of the kids (maybe age seven) were out Christmas shopping for me in the perfume aisle. My son picked up a tester bottle called Gummi Bears, and faster than you can scream “THAT’S NOT CANDY!!” he sprayed a full blast into his mouth.


It doesn’t seem so long ago that, in the time it took me to have a shower, the tree was knocked over because somebody was wrestling and he started it and THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!!!


On Christmas Eve they used to set their alarms for ridiculous times like 3:45, and then after they went to sleep we’d unplug their alarm clocks, smug in our ingeniousness. They would still get up at ungodly hours and we’d be on our 8th cup of coffee by 9:30 a.m., cursing the grossly understated ‘some assembly required’ instructions on dang near all children’s toys.


I find it hard sometimes to think that these moments will never come back. But of course, there’s nothing to be done. It’s healthy progression. It’s how it should be. Millions of mothers have survived it, you will too. Yada, yada, yada. Fine.


But seriously… I know that I have much to let go of. And it’s not exactly the same letting go as that which is forced on me. But it sort of is. There just isn’t space for everything.


I can’t hang on to my need to be right about everything and still say I believe in grace for all people.


I can’t hang on to 5 pairs of ill-fitting jeans and still tell myself that I’m okay with how I look, that I’m truly living in the present. Those jeans left the building last week (more on that some other day).


I can’t hang on to all the noise that bounces around in my head (telling me to do more, be more, get more) and still hear the voice of God. God, who tends not to shout, but is trying to tell me that there is enough within – it just needs a little breathing room.


So this Christmas I’ll continue to work on letting go. I’ve already let go of the pipe dream of sending out family Christmas cards. We admire the creative greetings we get from friends and we look at each other and say, “Maybe next year….” And then we throw our heads back and laugh maniacally, as if we actually believe ourselves.


I need to make some space. Some things really should go – like the dead weight of needing approval, needing to impress, needing to be in control. Not an over-night project, by any means.


But I look forward to what might come into those spaces.


As at Christmas. Some years Christmas feels like I’m a contestant on some Yuletide episode of the show, Wipeout. Crossing the finish line of a gauntlet of over-spending and over-scheduling, I tell the host, “Well Jill, I made it, but I don’t remember too much after being round-house kicked in the face during a mall-rage incident.”


I want to look forward to Christmas. I want to anticipate it. I want to wait for it in some form of stillness.


And that involves letting go.


Peace to you this Christmas. Peace on Earth.

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{VIDEO} Christmas Cafe -- The Color

Today we wrapped up what has been a musical journey -- as we have had guests joining us in the studio for our "Christmas Cafe". We've heard everything from a Dobro, to a harp, to a children's song and everything in between. Our final guest for our daily feature was James and Jordan of "The color". Here's a look at their in studio visit: