Enlightenment

the miracle of birth
the creation of a child
a new human spirit
soft bundle of flesh
sweet, innocent,
vulnerable
we see Life anew and
Awe shines forth

The story of Christmas. There would be no story without the infant. There would be no child without the mother and her labor.

A holy time when music and lights lift us up. Inspired by the Tangible and Intangible. a time of transcendence from the ordinary. The spiritual and material worlds merge. A time of wonder and awe.

It’s more than a Christian holy day. It’s a time for all people to reflect on motherhood. All infants and children, not just the Baby Jesus. The miracle of life. My mother. Your mother. Women’s bodies. My body. My love for babies, a maternal instinct and a desire to touch, be near the miracle of new life. To hug a child and be reminded of my own innocence and beauty: this is how we all started in life.

Women’s bodies–it is science, yes, but also mystery. Mystical. The popular novel, The Davinci Code, made me rethink the stories of the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene. These two women are often portrayed as opposites: the virgin and the whore. And yet, as women, they were both vessels for the miracle of life, and according to the novel, the true meaning of the Holy Grail of Arthurian legends and stories of the Crusades. The novel claims that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were lovers, and that she bore his child. Don’t know about that, but both Marys represent all women’s bodies as holy vessels for new life to be honored and protected.

Truly, women hold the key to human potential, to the survival of our species. Degrade us and you degrade life.

I wish I had understood this earlier as a young woman: how to treat my body as something sacred, to be cherished.

I wish all men had this understanding and would stop abusing women and children. Stop their violence against the vulnerable and the beauty in the world. I know I am asking for a real miracle. But we all have to dare to ask to stop sexual violence.

I’m asking college administrators to stop covering up sexual assaults on their campuses. And to stop making the well-being of athletes more important than that of our daughters and sisters.

I’m asking the NFL to man-up and adopt a zero tolerance attitude against players who abuse their spouses and girlfriends. I’m asking all sports teams to stop pushing alcohol during sporting events. Do fans really need chemicals in their systems to enjoy these events, to feel more manly?

I’m asking our military leaders to deal with their gender bias and put real action behind their words to transform the military regarding sexual assaults. To provide a safe and respectful working environment for women in the military. To prosecute and stop protecting perpetrators.

I’m asking all college administrators to muster the courage to address the problem of excessive alcohol consumption on campuses and campus events. Alcohol may not be the only link to sexual assaults, but it is a huge factor. I’m not the only one who thinks this, right? Parents of college students should support policies to control this substance on campus, as well as be vigilant to any behavior in their children that signals alcohol and drug abuse or misogyny.

Real men don’t beat up women. They don’t rape. They don’t abuse children. They aren’t bullies. They don’t stand quiet when violence is perpetrated against women or children. They know when they need help and can ask for it.

They are able to recognize the truth. They are willing to change. And they have the courage take action to make things right.

In this Season of Light, I am reminded that the days following the Winter Solstice will start getting longer, that Hanukkah is the Festival of Light, and the Star of Bethlehem is an important symbol in these dark days. Yes, we need more light. Sun, moon, stars, candles, colored lights on trees and houses. Incandescence. Illumination. Inspiration. Imagination.

Yes, imagine miracles. Then we can make them happen.

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