. . . well, that's what I was planning to write about, anyway. Seemed like a nice, feel-good, fuzzy-warm sort of thing to write about at this time of the year. And so many Decembery celebrations have the twin elements of love and miracles at their hearts. The Baby God born in a manger. The blessed oil that somehow burns for eight days. The return of Light on the darkest, longest night of the year. Proof for seekers that the Divine cares for and cherishes us.
And yet. Maybe I'm better off not looking at the Big Picture and should instead only focus on small details, such as the continual broadcasting of stop-motion animation featuring Burl Ives snowmen.
You see, Ramona, my little, funny, shy-until-you-know-her godchild had a sharp lesson in separateness and intolerance this week when her best friend told her that they couldn't play together any more because the two seven-year-olds aren't of the same religion.
Let's pass right over the fact that one's a Baptist and one's a Lutheran. FryDaddy and I, along with her parents, have all been tumbling over ourselves trying to figure out what happened, exactly who said what and where the idea came from in the first place. (The other little girl's parents aren't talking much, making me wonder if this wasn't a childish misunderstanding but is instead rooted in some ugly truth.) The girls have been best friends since forever and have attended after-school care together and even gone to Vacation Bible School together, for Pete's sake. So the argument of "you're not like me" doesn't hold water (holy or otherwise) in the first place.
Beyond that, what would the big screaming deal be if the two little girls weren't following the same faith path?
All I know is this. The exchange has left me sad, angry and confused - and I'm a Woman of a Certain Age who's had her fair share of bumps, bruises, and abrasions in life. How would I feel as a seven-year-old if my bestest friend told me that I wasn't good enough? Dear Angels in Heaven, that's enough to cause parents to start a therapy fund.
Why must so many of us believe in such a cramped, petty God? Why are so many of us so afraid of anything that isn't just like what we already know? I don't know the answer to that, but I do know that I believe that God often shakes His (or Her, or Its) head over the nonsense that is perpetrated in His name.
Either we're all God's children or none of us are. And Love and Miracles are well worth celebrating, in whatever form we find them.
Now you'll have to excuse me. I need to go make latkes and spin a dreidel before I start the Yule log burning as I sing Christmas carols.