Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

It's no secret that 2016 was a really hard year for the Bug household. But we are hoping that 2017 will (at least personally) be MUCH better. As is traditional, I'm sharing our annual Christmas poem, written by Dr. M this year. What is NOT traditional is that I included a note in our cards this year. I'm sharing most of that with you as well.

This is our annual Christmas poem, from hearts broken by 2016. It is a reminder of the travails of a certain refugee family long ago, and the fears and woes of our world today. It is a Christmas lament, written for anyone who feels cast out, without shelter...anyone whose refuge, whose Zion, was shattered by 2016. Peace on Earth, good will to all is our fervent prayer.

Dear Friends and Family,

We sat down and wept

Since we sent out last year’s poem a number of things happened which made Mike write a lament for our annual poem. We lost two people in his family (Aunt Helen and Uncle Barry). We lost my dad’s wife Amy. The head of my department at work died after a very brief fight against brain cancer. Mike’s school cut several positions; his was one of them. My nephew Brandon deployed to Afghanistan. My priest is retiring next month. And Donald Trump is the new president-elect.

And remembered Zion, our refuge

In response to all of that, it feels as if our safe place, our refuge, has been shattered – we grieve, we wail, we post epic rants on Facebook. And, we decide to move back to North Carolina, possibly in late winter or early spring. I will keep my same job, and Mike will spend time with his father and replenish his emotional resources. Whatever 2017 brings, we’ll face it with feet firmly planted on the red clay of home.

The Poem

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down,
yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
Upon the willows in the midst thereof
we hanged up our harps. For there they
that led us captive required of us songs,
and they that wasted us required of us mirth,
saying, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion.’ How
shall we sing the LORD'S song in a strange land?

                                    Psalm 137: 1-4

It is a season of lament—
Unwed mother, pregnant, stunned, shunned.
Older tradesman viewed with cynical suspicion
As he cares for the living vessel of Presence.
Zion shattered, they cling to each other and God.

It is a season of great worry—
New accounting, and, always, taxes to be paid.
Difficult journeys to be taken and retaken
With no clear vision of what the future holds.
Quo vadis? Where are you going? Do you know?

It is a season of homelessness—
In one fell day, secure shelters can vanish.
Cast off, adrift, wandering, we wonder…
Many of us feel mocked, displaced, rejected.
Is there room for us at the tables being set?

It is a season of faith leaps—
A weary couple seeking a new life, yet again.
Together struggling with the real, hard now,
Yet ever walking hand in hand the road
Before them, delicate steps, but walking still.

Have faith in this season of uncertainty—
By strange waters we have sat down and wept,
All of us, as we have mourned unsettling loss.
Our refuge shattered, we were unable to sing.
But in time, we each fetched our harps. Amen!

We SHALL overcome…

Mike & Dana
 Christmas 2016


  1. That is beautiful. I hope 2017 will be a better year for us all.

  2. It's been a hard year; we'll all keep up our hopes in 2017. Thanks for posting all you do on FB throughout the year.

  3. Beautiful! I wish both of you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas, and much happiness, healing and hope in 2017.

  4. There's only one song that fits here, and this is it. Sing your way into 2017, and rejoice! There's a good future ahead!

  5. Powerful stuff! I grieve with you in your losses and rejoice in the prospect of new life through new birth. May the disaster never come; may your resilience see you through.
    Peace and love,


  6. 2016 was an awful year for a lot of people, but I think you guys got hit especially hard. I'm happy to see that you haven't lost hope and optimism. And I'm a firm believer in the fact that sometimes a change of location and latitude can bring on new energy and a start of something better.

    Here's to 2017 and great new beginnings!

  7. Oh...back to North Carolina before we ever meet in Ohio. I am sad.

    Here's to Brighter Days ahead for you and The Professor. You are both so deserving. XXOO

    And we will always meet here & at the Dept.

  8. You already have a plan taking shape for the New Year which puts you a week ahead of me, for one. I have no plan yet, except a visit to Ottawa sometime soon to visit with former students who are finishing up their Masters. After that who knows? I will probably just keep on doing what I am already doing. But for the two of you, the famous song promises "Nothing could be finer, than to be in Carolina in the morning." Best wishes with your thoughts and plans.

  9. Beautiful poem! It did make me feel better. Kind of want to write something about how it's entirely possible 2017 might turn our to be benign but there's no need to jinx it.

  10. merry christmas and yay for a new adventure.

  11. Oh, now I see you posted about your move. I am so behind on your blog. Sorry! :/


Thanks for stopping by - I'd love to hear what you have to say!

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