I am quite partial to the Christmas songs written in a minor key.
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
What Child is This
Carol of the Bells
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
I’m not sure why. Maybe because although Christmas is a joyous time of celebration, it also brings some discord, or in musical terms, dissonance. Jesus didn’t really promote a life of ease. He shook things up a bit, so to speak. When I think about His birth related to [place], I realize it didn’t involve comfort or safety. His place of birth was a stopping off point in the midst of a long journey traveled through a country occupied by another empire.
My husband, wise man that he is, posted a couple quotes on Twitter last week. He was referencing “Common Prayer”:
“Places that are physically safe can be spiritually deadly.”
“The most dangerous place for Christians to be is in comfort and safety, detached from the suffering of others.”
This is our family’s first holiday season living on Loudon Avenue. Every once in a while, I’ll overhear someone say something to the effect that we live in a “bad” neighborhood. I don’t think they mean it in a derogatory way, and we definitely chose to live exactly where we do, yet it’s not the “safest” part of Lexington. We see people walk down the sidewalk everyday, many of them homeless folks heading to or from the Hope Center. Occasionally people go through our recycling bin looking for aluminum cans they can turn in for cash. Last week a kid attempted [unsuccessfully] to lift a few of our Christmas lights. There have been numerous shootings in our town this year, many of them happening within walking distance of our home. Police cars, complete with flashing lights and blaring sirens, speed down Loudon at least once a night.
I realize there are no prizes given out to the educated, once suburban family with bright children, who chooses to move across town. Yet, I must say there is some joy in the loss of comfort. There is joy in being vulnerable and present in the midst of a somewhat chaotic environment.
Lately, I’ve heard much related to place and safety. Whether Facebook statuses, or comments about neighborhoods, or people’s ideas regarding other “types” of people, it seems there’s quite a lot of talk about feeling safe wherever we’re at. I wish more people realized there is comfort in the unsafe and safety in the uncomfortable.