Red and Green Washing

Happy third week of Advent! Last night Richie took the kiddos to Grammy’s for pot-roast to give me time to write our meditation. And I sat there and the words did not come. Fatigue was a fog and I chased the muse down several lonely allies before finally giving up and doing some yoga.
I bet several of you are tired too. And in a fog. And like Rosetta have the sniffles. And maybe, like me, you feel a light (or heavy) mist of anxiety that settles on you in unexpected moments. Anxiety about not being able to do all that you have to do, or at least not being able to do it well. Or anxiety about holiday gatherings, or weeks without childcare, or more serious health concerns for yourself or dear ones.
And all of this anxiety-mist, which honestly is a part of every season of life, just feels awful in front of the backdrop of a culture that has totally flip-flopped the energy of the season. There is no space for the Advent practices of stripping down and searching the soul. Anxiety-mist might not feel so out of place in a season with this muted palette. But instead we are all surrounded by Christmas on steroids, a culture engrossed in the practice of “Red and Green Washing.”
Green-Washing” describes the co-opting of environmental values for material gain such as when a company only slightly tweaks a production process, or changes their packaging and then markets the product like crazy as ecolicious and earthy-friendly. Red and Green Washing likewise appropriates the values which this season cultivates in the human imagination– a desire for abiding joy and intimacy with God – and employs them in the pursuit of profit or a trumped up sense of nostalgia.
So how do we wipe off our Red and Green-hosed environment and begin to sit with things the color they really are? Mindful consumption helps, such as buying fair trade products or gifts out of recycled materials. This simple act of protest illuminates the world we want to see born on Christmas morning.
Choosing to move at a slower pace can help too– such as opting out of events that are stressful (which is not always an option, I know) and instead adding in a time of silence at home with a lit candle or a simple meal with a friend.
Sometimes it helps me to just be honest about the disconnect between how I want to feel (full of energy, clear-hearted, hopeful) and how I actually do feel (grouchy, disquieted, or anxious). When I own the gap between these two spaces it puts me in touch with my own longing-and that, ironically, is a very Advent emotion.
Lastly, rest in the liturgical calendar and its detachment from secular time-keeping. Christmastide is the hammock which catches you if you fall off the Cliff on the evening of the 25.thRemember we are gifted with twelve holy days and twelve starry nights in which to celebrate Emmanuel, or God with us. Look for ways to enjoy them, even as those around you lament over-eating and over-spending. And plan to top off Christmastide with an Epiphany party on Jan 6. (More to come on CitC Epiphany Party/Winetasting with Lori, our resident Sommelier!)
And if you are tired of having to try so hard just to stay “in the mood” for Christmas– know that God hears your frustration. That is the beauty of the incarnation– God gets this whole human deal! And trust that this same God, our cosmic composter, can take whatever we have to offer: whether it be a heart full of longing or good cheer, and turn it for the good.
Peace of the Season,
PS 7pm tonight, come learn about sustainable building at the Gobs of Cob party (details below!)
PPS Join me in celebrating Lauren and her work with the Refugee Writers Project featured on the front page of the Dallas Morning News. Check it out!
Community Events
Dec 22 CitC Christmas Eve and Electronic Recycling Service 7pm
Scott and Lisa host our Christmas Eve gathering. (We know it’s a little early but some peeps are going out of town.) Join us for a simple service, meal, and candles. And bring your unwanted electronics– printers, cell phones, whatever you’ve got! We’ll recycle them. Children welcome! 221 S. Edgefield Ave
All throughout Advent you will find our CitC composter in the small garden by west entrance to Kidd Springs Rec Center. Drop off your veggie scraps and coffee grounds and come worship with us! 11:08 am. 711 W. Canty

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