This Christmas our prelit artificial Christmas tree had many strands of lights out so I put some extra strands of lights on the tree to patch the unlit areas. Julie and I discussed what to do with the tree after Christmas. Should we get a new prelit tree or keep our perfectly nice looking tree and put strands of lights on it every year? We decided to keep the tree for at least another year and I decided to slowly work at removing the existing lights.
Removing the factory installed lights turned out to be more work than I anticipated so I would go from time to time into the basement to watch sports and work at removing the lights. The strands of lights are amazingly strung on the tree with a maze of twists and turns.
As I was struggling to remove the lights, I started to think about the workers that have the job of putting the lights on these prelit trees. My imagination took me to a factory in Asia with some poor working conditions and people working day in and day out stringing lights on trees for minimal pay so people here could celebrate Christmas. Where did they live and did they have a family that they were supporting by doing this mind-numbing work. I wonder about the safety of their working conditions and if they get any health, vacation, or retirement benefits.
I think that taking time to wonder about the plight of others is a good thing and a form of prayer. It moves us to have compassion for others and to spend time really trying to feel their situations. If it makes us feel guilty, although that is not the point of such an exercise, maybe there is something God is trying to say to us in this exercise. If it moves us to action in informing ourselves and working to make structural changes then it is a form of prayer well in line with the Gospel message of conversion of heart that Jesus teaches.
This week on the news, I saw a parade of older white men from the south pontificating about how appointing a black woman to the supreme court would be offensive to black women. My immediate reaction was one of anger and I found myself thinking “have you even talked to any black women to see what they think?”. That has led me to wonder what it is like to be a black woman in our society and what they would think about a black woman being selected for the supreme court? I can honestly admit that I do not have a clue about what it is to be a black woman right now but can take the time to wonder about and inform myself more about the experience of black women living in our current times. My guess is that it is not an easy road and they would not be offended but excited by the fact that a black woman is being considered for the supreme court.
Wondering can be a good prayer response to the many situations we hear about in the world around us and help provide us with a more Christ-like attitude and response.
Peace, Love, and Blessings