These are the gifts I would give us, and this is the way I would gift them.
Jezebel served a goddess, one the Israelites also worshiped, but our stories vilify her. Elijah ordered the slaughter of Jezebel’s priests long before she raised a hand against his small religious sect. He built his political power from the ashes of those burned priests, on the back of Jezebel’s broken and dog-torn body. I gift us new ways of worshipping our Mother free from male violence. I’ll meet you in our sacred groves. We can paint our eyes with kohl and tell stories of our matriarchs.
Martha cooked and cleaned and, when she reached the breaking point, was told she had chosen poorly, and we tell her failure like a morality play. But Jesus didn’t divide the fish or loaves for her. No water was turned into wine to free her from thankless and powerless domesticity. I gift us the freedom to choose, really choose, and to know what all our choices are.
Lot’s nameless wife loved her community and we’re told God turned her into a pillar of salt because of it. I gift us the knowledge that God knows our names and would not punish us for who or how we love.
Hagar fled abuse and was told by an angel to return or watch her son die. I gift us trust that God doesn’t value one life or one group above any other, and he would never ask us to live in an abusive relationship.
Ruth’s husband died so she became the multiple wife of a distant relative. I gift us fulfilling relationships free from economic constraints, no matter what those relationships look like.
Emma believed the rules of monogamy but we have a revelation demanding she celebrate her husband’s polygamy. I gift us rules that suit us as much as they suit men, and a god who isn’t fickle in his application of those rules. And I gift us pure revelations from the mouths of those whose voices aren’t heard over the pulpit.
I gift us new understandings of our old stories. Mostly, dearest friends, I gift us power: power in ourselves, power to be seen and known and safe and celebrated, power to make change. Merry Christmas.