How I Am Singing Silent Night This Year


idelette mcvicker -how im singing silent night this year2

Sisterhood? She scoffed. I was sitting in a diner in Denver with two editors from a prominent publishing house. It was a Friday afternoon and one of the editors came to the table rather cynical about my ideas for a global revolution of women who change the world with our Love.

I don’t blame her. She was worn out from juggling work life and mom life and that night she hadn’t slept much with her sick toddler. She challenged me to clarify my thoughts and ideas. She challenged me to think of her sister on a farm in Idaho and why she would ever want to read about a global revolution of Love.

Sisterhood? She was not a believer.

At first, I walked away from that meeting completely disheartened. Why am I even trying to write? Why do I even believe in this idea of Sisterhood and transforming the world by Love?

I wanted to give up.

Thankfully, the next day, I got to listen to Lynne Hybels speak. Tears started streaming down my face as she told the story of visiting Bosnia after the war and, in prayer, becoming confronted with this question: Am I my sister’s keeper?

Slowly, gently, she reminded me why I believed in sisterhood. Why this wasn’t just a ridiculous idea—a faint pipedream that doesn’t apply to a woman on a farm in Idaho or a condo in Vancouver or an apartment in Kaohsiung. Sisterhood mattered.

Sisterhood has to be a safe place for us to land. Sisterhood is that place where we can exhale and be honest. Sisterhood is where we can become strong, SO THAT we may serve our world. Sisterhood is where we become strong so we can just plain LOVE people.

Sisterhood is not a magical idea. It’s a sober reminder that in a world where 1 in 3 women have been violated or abused, we need safe places. It’s a RESPONSE to the evil of gender-based violence. When men have not generally been a safe place, we need to become that for each other.

We become a place where women’s voices are heard, called out, nurtured and a place where women’s voices can become strong.

Recently, I’ve noticed a few people asking me: Why the focus on women?

It’s never been a movement against, but always a movement for.

It started 17 years ago, when my mother-in-law asked me to help her write a prayer journal. She was on a global task force on the abuse against women and she’d felt compelled to raise up a prayer force of people who would pray and discover God’s heart on this. In the end, we called it: Discovering God’s Heart for Suffering Women: A 40-Day Prayer Pilgrimage. As I sat with the stories and the statistics, my heart broke. I wept and wept and wept. It was where my eyes were opened to the story of women as a story of injustice. I was awakened to the idea that women standing in their rightful, strong and beautiful place in the world was not just a matter of equality. It was God’s heart. It was the story of God’s heart for justice. It was the place where I could see God working.

I’d never felt called to “women’s ministry,” but the moment I connected God’s heart for justice and the story of women, I realized this is exactly where I needed to stand. Women’s ministry became new and alive and important to me.

That’s why my dream for a global good news magazine, became a place for women. I wanted to join God in what I could see God doing.

It wasn’t because I am a feminist. I am.
It wasn’t because I don’t love and appreciate men. I do.
It was because there’s work to be done.

I could see a world of women aching for a place to belong.
I could see a world of women yearning for a place to become strong.
I could see a world of women needing to see a glimpse of a different story.

SheLoves is not a solution to the evil of violence against women. We are simply a small beacon of Hope for what happens when women walk in a community of Love. We are a sign that when women find their voices and their place in the world, they rise, they become stronger, they become active participants in their neighborhoods, their communities and even their world. We are a sign that God is still unleashing and deploying women for the work of Love and goodness in this world. I have seen it over and over and over again.

Women come to us often uncertain about their voice and their worth. They don’t quite know where they belong and if they even have anything to offer. And then, over time, as she finds her place and her voice in a community that seeks to Love, we see her change. I begin to hear it in her voice. She shows up differently. She brings ideas. She speaks up with confidence. She grows stronger. She becomes who she has always been, but couldn’t quite see before.

The larger work of making safe places for women in this world is still unfolding. The challenge is so big, it requires all of us to work together for this good.

On Wednesday, Lisa Sharon Harper and friends called us to speak up for change in the statement that #SilenceIsNotSpiritual. When asked, I signed the statement immediately, because this is exactly the place out of which SheLoves was birthed. Would you join us? Come sign here and help spread the word.

We know this: Silence in the face of violence against women is not spiritual.

Violence against women is an injustice and we all need to do our part towards change.

This year has been an incredible year in the story of women—from the women’s march, to TIME magazine’s Person of the Year (The Silence Breakers) and the #MeToo movement. I sense a tipping point coming and a day when this work will no longer be needed. Until then, I am grateful that women keep speaking up and keep doing the hard work of walking towards justice. As women of the church—and as the Body of Christ—we have a particular call to make sure our sanctuaries, too, are safe.

It’s been nearly 17 years since I wept at my desk, awakening to the suffering of women. So much has changed and so much still needs to change. The walk towards justice is a long walk. We know this. Let’s not grow weary in doing good. We can do this.

So, here’s my call to us this year: As we sing “Silent Night” this Christmas, let’s sing it not only for that first Christmas, but let’s sing it for everything that Jesus came for—the full and beautiful freedom of all people. Let’s sing “Silent Night” as an act of resistance against the silencing of women. Let’s sing it as a song of praise for the work of justice that is being done. Let’s sing it for sisterhood and the story of women being made right. Let’s sing it for the ones who are still locked into silence. Let’s sing it to the night and let’s sing it as a song of Hope for the new day that is dawning.

Idelette McVicker
I like soggy cereal and I would like to go to every spot on the map of the earth to meet our world’s women. I dream of a world where no women or girls are for sale. I dream of a world where women and men are partners in doing the work that brings down a new Heaven on earth. My word last year was “roar” and I learned it’s not about my voice rising as much as it is about our collective voices rising in unison to bring down walls of injustice. This year, my own word is “soar.” I have three children and this place–right here, called–is my fourth baby. I am African, although my skin colour doesn’t tell you that story. I am also a little bit Chinese, because my heart lives there amongst the tall skyscrapers of Taipei and the mountains of Chiufen. Give me sweet chai and I think I’m in heaven. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I pledged my heart to Scott 11 years ago. I believe in kindness and calling out the song in each other’s hearts. I also believe that Love covers–my gaps, my mistakes and the distances between us. I blog at and tweet @idelette.
Idelette McVicker

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