Hope, Peace, Joy, Love: what wonderful words - with images enough to help us sleep well and have vivid dreams of a world with all the beauty which Louis Armstrong paints in his old song ”What a wonderful world.” Trees of green, red roses, gracious and welcoming hands of strangers now friends. What a wonderful world....
Each year, 12 months from the last December, expectation is a veil over us; anticipation of hopeful change is in the air, and we wait, and count days, and add to the buildup, and paint the miracle of Christ’s birth into the mural of our life. It is a familiar story, with Angels and wise men, straw, donkeys, birth and life, hope and unrelenting love, travel and arrival. It is a hinge for many of us to link the seasons and dates on calendars together, It can seem as if the only time there is good will or a cease fire, broad expressions of compassion and forgiveness is when Christmas is on our radar.
Since March we have lived in months of darkness; beauty has been hidden; the veil over all of us has been so gray from isolation and living 6 feet apart. Christmas joy is not in most of our vocabularies. The watchwords are COVIDweary, fearful living, lost livelihoods, virtual school, cancellation and postponements of family gatherings. We do indeed need a little (or a lot of) Christmas as Jonny Mathis’song reminds us. With the world we are living in this year the way to receive the hope and Joy of Christmas is to look inside, not outside.
Read the gospel Christmas message in Matthew not the Santa Clause version.
Count intangible blessings, not the gifts under the tree.
Believe we are part of the miracle of the good cheer and unrelenting love, of the story, not waiting to find it in entertainment or an experience.
Somehow this year Christmas will come to us in a very personal, individual way, or it will be lost altogether in dreams of the past. The usual trappings and anticipation, experiences and traditions of the season will be different, yet the message of one life born for us, one God come to Earth, one night which changed the world can still be claimed. Let us pray for each other every day this advent season, that Hope, Joy, Peace and Love find new roadsinto our lives and the doors to our hearts willswing wide to welcome the Christ child!
On this journey of faith,