Christmas does not mean that all is right with the world. That is clearly not the case. Humanity has a long way to go before swords are beaten into plowshares and a special needs teen isn’t abused and tormented by angry young people because of his vulnerability and race. But something is right with the world. It is a season where we hope for peace. It is a season where we think of generosity. It is a season where we value kindness. Some things are right in the world.
Gifts have been given to the families at the Fisher house. Gifts have been provided for the families at the shelter trying to find their way out of domestic violence. We have listened together to a choir of young people joining their voices together to bring exquisite beauty to the world. Some things are right with the world.
Religious communities have gathered in this darkest time of the year to light candles and speak about light for our darkness. Families have come together to enjoy and build the ties of love. We have practiced the art and the value of giving. Some things are right with the world.
Yes, we are facing an uncertain future. Yes, hate and intolerance seem to be on the rise. Yes, violence still plagues the human community. And, yes, families still struggle to be kind to one another. But some things are right with the world. And it is far more than that the sun still shines and that rains come. It is far more than the presence of a few teachers and healers in our midst. It is the persistent presence of the words and remembrance of this child of Bethlehem – and of the teachers and prophets who went before him.
The Voice of God continues to speak to us, continues to call to us, continues to challenge and summon us to realize in our lives what is good and right and noble. The Voice of God speaks of heaven’s faithfulness and calls us to faithfulness to one another. The Voice of God speaks words of healing and bids us be healers. The Voice of God speaks mercy and summons us to mercy. The Voice of God speaks forgiveness – release from the brokenness we have brought to our relationship with God and the earth, our neighbor and ourselves – and bids us do the same.
Some things are right with the world. And our simple act of coming together to hear the ancient stories and sing the songs new and old, and share fresh baked bread around a table where all are welcome reminds us of what is good, of what we could be, of what we should be. And maybe, before all the rhetoric heats up again, we can hold on for a moment to what is noble and true, to the vision of our true humanity presented to us in this Jesus, to the desire to governed by his Spirit and see the fruit of that Spirit in our lives, to the hope and presence of peace.
I drafted this article for our January parish newsletter and the references to the Fisher House and shelter reflect our support of these children and families at Christmas and throughout the year. The Fisher House is a residential facility at our local VA Hospital for the out of town families of patients in the poly-trauma unit.