Glad Tidings and Great Mourning

A daughter of a friend of mine passed away this month. Since then I have been acutely aware of those who are mourning this season. People I normally don’t think of much have been coming to mind---my sister’s friend who lost her husband, my friend Kari for whom this will be her first Christmas without her mom. Last year I met my sister’s friend on Christmas Eve and now he is dead--leaving behind a wife my age and a small son. 

Kizzy is getting through Christmas without her husband and another friend too because of a divorce.  Others are mourning job losses and being far from home.  And now today, millions of students mourn the defeat of the Dream Act--a law that would make a way for people raised in the United States to earn their legal residency by going to college or serving in the military. After ten years of work, advocacy, and the bill passing the House of Representatives, we missed the vote by five votes. I feel disappointed and sad.  I feel my friends’ grief and loneliness.

It is awful to be surrounded by rejoicing and parties and festivity when you are grieving and mourning.  I have wondered how my friends could possibly relate to the Christmas season this year. Yet, it was in the Christmas Story itself that I found words of mourning, and so somehow of comfort. Matthew’s gospel recounts the Escape to Egypt when Jesus parents fled to another country. As they left, Herod was leaving a wake of destruction and death. Matthew quotes the prophet Jeremiah to describe the scene:

                A voice is heard in Ramah,

                Weeping and great mourning,

                Rachel weeping for her children

                And refusing to be comforted

                Because they are no more. 

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So Much to Fix- Let's Get Started

It has been one of those weeks.  Everything around me seems to need fixing.  First the shower backed up and then my car broke down.  My bike had a flat and the gaping hole in my front yard reminded me of the patio that still needed to be put together.  I spent Saturday morning figuring out the car situation and checking in on the plumber's ETA.  Then some friends came over to help lay pavers for the new patio.  Over coffee and egg sandwiches we fixed the big hole one brick at a time.  With so much still broken around me it felt good to get one thing taken care of, to have one thing fixed.

As we look around the situation in our country it is easy to see that many things are broken.  When it comes to immigration one quickly notices that a lot is severely broken.  Wouldn't it feel good to even get one thiing fixed? This coming week we as a nation have the opportunity to fix at least one thing for thousands of young people.  The Dream Act is being considered as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Bill.  Senators will be voting this week.  The Dream Act is a bill that provides a conditional path to citizenship for young people who were educated and raised in the United States and yet have no way of legally working.  Currently there are around 65,000 "Dreamers" living in the US.  These students go to college or serve in our military and desperately want to fully participate as Americans. 

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Faces of Reform: Immigration

Roman was a pretty average student at the after school teen center where we met nine years ago.  He was timid but he liked to joke around. As neighbors, I still saw him after graduation.  He worked here and there and was always trying to keep his sister on track. 

At the community center, church volunteers are great about helping kids with their homework.  Volunteers coach kids in soccer.  They teach Bible studies and put on Vacation Bible Schools.  Our volunteers truly want good things for our students.  They plan field trips and college visits.  They take kids to the theater and sporting events to expose them to culture and our community. 


People love to be a part of seeing an immigrant kid be the first one in his family to go to college.

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