I suppose that every year, our festive Christmas preparations have an undercurrent of melancholy, as we remember loved ones who are no longer with us, as our attention is inevitably drawn toward those who have nothing, and as our brains succumb to the cheery fluorescence of Shopping Mall Glaze.
But this year, doesn’t it seem like melancholy is more undertow than undercurrent? Our shared sadness isn’t pulling at us in a hidden, unnamed way — it is out there drowning us in foreclosures and layoffs and bankruptcies. We can’t help but be more alert to how we feel and what is happening and what could happen next.
Peace. Hope. Joy. Love. Perhaps this Christmas the greatest of these is hope.
Spiritual writer Henri Nouwen says that we wait and hope because like Mary, we have received a promise that something different is about to happen. We hope because something inside us is already growing. We are more alert in our hope than ever before, because it seems that the world might actually be shifting and changing. In our inability and refusal to be numb and unresponsive to the crises in which we find ourselves this Christmas, we find instead that we are awake … waiting … not for a Wii or a Lexus, but for new realities and new opportunities.
Be alert for the hope that is already growing in you. Notice and connect with the hope that is coming alive in others. In these bizarre times, why should we pretend that it’s Christmas business-as-usual, when we could be part of God’s creative movement?
PAIGE EAVES is pastor of Crescenta Valley United Methodist Church. Reach her at (818) 249-6173.