Posted by: jevcat | December 28, 2017

“Shelter in Place”

It’s a simple phrase, one that probably meant nothing to most of us twenty years ago.  Now, however, the combination of ever more frequent mass shootings, the escalation of climate change-driven natural disasters, and occasional terror attacks have made it all too common.  “Shelter in place” — it’s a phrase that begins with such a comforting word, “shelter,” that in this context provides no comfort whatsoever.

But on a winter day when the wind chill factor is bordering on negative numbers, “shelter in place” doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.  And it’s Christmas time, and isn’t that what Mary and Joseph, with no other choice, did?  It occurs to me that today is the commemoration of Holy Innocents, Herod’s extreme (even for him) attempt to protect his hold on the throne.  Warned by the Magi, and once again with no other choice, Mary, Joseph, and the child Jesus fled to a place of shelter – this time a foreign one, Egypt — refugees from political violence.

For us, Christmas has become a cozy time, a shelter, perhaps, however temporary, from everyday life.  We forget how difficult and dangerous life was for the people behind those figurines in the creche.  The world was no less dangerous on the first Christmas than it is now, though killing was harder work and more personal then, and death was, if anything, a more frequent visitor.  Shelter is where we find it.

So I’m feeling as though we ought to acknowledge the fear but savor the shelter, whether our shelter is a place or a person or all of the above.    As for me, at the moment, it’s tea time, and there’s British baking show on PBS, so I’m going to make a cuppa’, toast the cats, and shelter in place.

2017 Intercession Creche

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