I recently was reminded of the words to one of my favourite Christmas carols, O Holy Night, and found the words of this song to be especially poignant given the year we’ve all just gone through. I’ve listened to this song a few times now, during this festive season, and thought I would share them here today, as I wish you all a Merry Christmas, with the hope that the message of this song, written over 100 years ago, will comfort you today too!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, dear Readers!
O holy night! The stars are brightly shining, It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Till He appear’d and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born; O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming, With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand. So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming, Here come the wise men from the Orient land. The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger; In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, to our weaknesses no stranger, Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend! Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His gospel is peace. Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother; And in His name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever, His power and glory evermore proclaim. His power and glory evermore proclaim.
It’s been a very sad, heavy and wearying week, hasn’t it? As much as I want to come onto this blog and start chatting about clothing and personal style and my latest sewing project…fashion just isn’t what I’ve been thinking about. My mind has been occupied elsewhere this past week, as I think we all have been- and rightly so.
For the past few days I have been delving into the issue of discrimination and wrestling through my thoughts on all the sides and aspects of such a complicated topic. I have wanted to run away from this issue. I have wanted to avoid the turmoil and stay wrapped up in my cozy little home. I have been afraid to post in case I say the wrong thing.
But I have not been called to hide, and change must come from each of us. I may not have all the words to say, but I don’t think that I can ignore the issue and post pretty photos of lilacs and dresses either, so I thought that I would write this out, just to get it out on paper, and share it here in case it can be of any help to you too.
I don’t talk about it a lot because it doesn’t come up very often, but I am Native American. I don’t look like it, but my dad’s side of the family is from northern BC & Yukon, and I am in fact a member of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations. It’s not a very big part of my life, because I didn’t grow up in the Yukon, I didn’t grow up on a reserve, and for the most part have lived a very “white” life.
Oh, that and the fact that I don’t look Native.
I live in Western Canada, in Alberta, and I have not seen a lot of racism towards black people in person (the issue that is specifically tearing the world apart right now), so I cannot speak to that, and it would be hypocritical for me to do so. However, I have seen discrimination against native people, where I live in Canada. My own family members have experienced discrimination because of how “Indian” they look. (Bullying while growing up, getting beaten up, mockery in the workplace, not even to mention the historical oppression of Native Americans…)
I have seen this racism, but I have never experienced it firsthand because I don’t look “Indian”. This just goes to show how ridiculous this kind of discrimination is; I am genetically Native American (with some immigrant heritage thrown in), but because I don’t look like it…I am somehow exempt.
When it comes right down to it, scientifically our skin colour is only a very small fraction of the layers of our skin, and skin colour is a direct result of how that layer reacts to the sun. According to The Body by Bill Bryson, that layer is only about 1 mm thick (so thin that it is translucent). That is a very small amount of cells to divide people so radically.
After thinking about this issue for several days, and wrestling through my thoughts on all the sides and aspects of such a complicated topic, I have come to the conclusion that these problems we are seeing across the world are not rooted in racism.
What is racism really? We are all members of the human race. Whether you are black, white, red, or whatever colour you identify as; we are all human. Biologically there is no such thing as race. Our bodies do not have any defining characteristics to divide between people.
Even though it seems that the root cause of racism may be unique to one people group- looking at someone and discriminating against them because they have a different skin colour than you- that isn’t really the issue. After all, a white person can discriminate against a black person. A black person can discriminate against a native person. A native person can discriminate against an asian person….
I do not give these examples to distract from the very real and scary problems that people of colour are facing every day, but to show that discrimination can come from anywhere, by anyone and it all comes down to the same root problem: a desire to puff ourselves up and selfishly put ourselves first.
The real problem is in looking at someone else, picking out what is different about them, seeing them as somehow “less” than you, and discriminating against them because you don’t value their humanity.
By removing someone of their humanity, suddenly no evil action is beyond the scope of imagination.
Why were Native Americans wiped of their culture, taken from their families, put in residential schools, and made the subject of systemic abuse and stereotypes that exist to this day? Because their humanity was erased.
Why were people with physical and mental disabilities exterminated by the Nazis in the 1930’s and 40’s to sounds of celebration? Because their humanity was erased.
Why were Africans enslaved for hundreds of years in North America (and Europe) and still face real danger and prejudices to this day? Because their humanity was erased.
Why are people of colour being killed unjustly all over the world, no matter which culture or country they live in, still today? Because their humanity is still being erased.
This root of this problem is not racism.
This root of this problem is not oppression and power.
The root of this problem is the arrogance of looking at someone else, separating yourself from them, elevating yourself above them, and refusing to see them as a human made in the image of our Creator God.
The root of this problem is Sin.
When it comes right down to it, our actions towards others are determined by what we believe about others. Why is life valuable? What is it that makes us human? What is it that makes each of us worthy of life, dignity and respect? Before anything can change, we need to recognize the inherent value that each person has because they are a human made by God. We need to believe what God himself has said:
‘Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.’ Genesis 1:26-27
So, what is the solution to the problem? It can’t be fixed with human ideas.
The solution to the problem is not overthrowing those who are oppressing us. There will always be someone new to trample upon someone else.
The solution is not in educating everyone and making them see things from our perspective, though activism can be a great tool.
The solution is not in creating distinctions between people or even in trying to celebrate our differences.
The only real solution that can be found is to humble ourselves, take the focus off of ourselves, and follow the example of Christ:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! ” Philippians 2: 3- 10
I do not give these examples today to point fingers at others. I have done some of my own self reflection this past week and have taken a look at my own ideas. I have wanted to run away from the issue and not think about it; I did not want to stare my own prejudices in the face and see where I have acted wrongfully towards others. I have had to repent of some of those actions and attitudes.
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves.” Romans 12: 10
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends upon you, live at peace with everyone….Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12: 17, 18, 21
I may not have been as eloquent as I hoped to be, and may not have said everything as it should have been said, but I hope and pray that these words, dear friend, will have entered into the chaos and turmoil that is spreading all over the globe, and that they will have given you a pause and a peace to reflect upon. My prayer is that in the midst of all of the pain of the past few days and weeks, we will not find peace and fulfilment in anything on this earth, but will instead turn to the only One who can truly heal.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
I have had the words to the hymn O Come All Ye Faithful in my head this holiday season, so I thought it would be fitting to share some of them here as a Christmas greeting to you all. I love to read through carols this time of year, and truly dwell on the words.
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas filled with love, joy and peace!
O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant! O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem; Come and behold him Born the King of Angels: O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.
Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning; Jesus, to thee be glory given! Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing! O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.
Aside from a short lived pink and purple bedroom with Barbie wallpaper when I was a child, I’ve never had much pink in my life.
I don’t decorate with pink (though it would be so much easier to find a vintage sofa, if I wanted a pink one- they are simply everywhere!)
And I can probably count on one hand the number of pink clothes and accessories that I have. A pair of shoes, two floral skirts, a hat with a pink flower, a pair of cameo earrings…
But, despite the fact that I’ve never been much drawn to pink…I love pink hair! Just before I started this blog, four years ago, I dyed my hair pink, but it wasn’t quite the colour I wanted. And ever since then, I’ve been dreaming of the day when my hair would be pink again.
And then I said to myself, “Why is my hair not pink yet?” so I scheduled an appointment. I walked in last Friday a natural blonde, and when I left three hours later I was a platinum and pink!
It was a bit brighter than I was planning originally to go, I was thinking more of a light ash and pink mix, but then I just decided to go all in, and go platinum blonde! I was platinum four years ago, and I’ve kind of missed it. It’s taken some getting used to, and I’m still not used to it, actually. I do a double take when I see myself in a mirror! It faded a bit when I washed it, which is kind of sad that it’s only a demi-permanent, but I will enjoy it while I have it…so, I guess I am a pink person, after all!
Have you ever dyed your hair an “unnatural” colour?
Well, it’s actually not the view from where I am currently, since these photos were all taken at my previous apartment, but that title just had a catchy ring to it, so….
This is going to be a very photo heavy post, but the other day I was scrolling through my phone and realized that I have a lot of photos of the view from our old apartment, and it seemed like a compilation of them was in order. These might not even be all the photos I took, but they were all the ones I could find in my disorganized hard drive!
I’m not going to say that I miss living at that place, because obviously there are reasons why we left, but it really was a gorgeous view from our living room window. The building was built on a hill, and our window faced West overlooking the valley, which meant we got to enjoy some beautiful sunsets. Unfortunately the view was the best thing about the place though, and that’s not enough of a reason to stay somewhere!
Anyways, here are some photos from the past year, spanning from last June to this past March- it’s amazing how the weather can drastically change the view from day to day, isn’t it?
June 9, 2018: This one was from when I was in the basement apartment, so a slightly different angle. It kind of looked like a tornado started forming, but it never fully formed or touched down.
July 2, 2018: Two photos- one from early afternoon and one from the evening of the day I moved into the upstairs apartment.
July 6, 2018
July 18, 2018
August 8, 2018: One of the first days when the smoke from the BC wildfires started blowing across the province- not the worst we were to see, unfortunately!
August 13, 2018: One day of rain and a blessed relief of the smoke, but the smoke blew right back in the next day.
August 15, 2018: Two days later, and it looked like the apocalypse was upon us. That was a strange day as it was so hazy we had to turn the lights on indoors, and even the birds weren’t singing, casting an eerie calm.
August 16, 2018: The next day the smoke had lessened, and lost it’s orange glow. Thankfully the smoke started lessening shortly after this!
September 5, 2018
September 9, 2018: One of the most enjoyable things was watching the valley turn colours in the Fall.
Sept 10, 2018: In just one day, the leaves had changed colour so much more, but the lighting on this day also cast an autumnal hue in the image.
September 13, 2018: The first snow of the year, that quickly melted, but always seems to come too early!
September 15, 2018: Another snowfall a couple of days later!
September 21, 2018: And a week later, this heavier snowfall!
October 18, 2018: One of the most beautiful sunsets of our time there.
November 29, 2018: And this sunset too…
January 4, 2019
February 7, 2019: The fog off the reservoir always looked so cold on Winter days like this!
March 12, 2019
March 20, 2019.
March 28, 2019: The last evening I spent in the apartment.
March 29, 2019: Taken on the last afternoon we spent in our apartment, just before giving back the keys.