We are in the season of Advent, a four-week time of waiting for the light of the Star of Bethlehem to announce the good news of the birth of Jesus. A light that continues to shine brightly, even in the face of so much darkness across the land.
In my tradition, we are asked to be Advent people. As I reflect on that challenge, I ask myself what it means to be a people of the light.
It would be easy to be overwhelmed by the darkness of poverty, of violence in all its forms, of environmental destruction, authoritarianism, racism, and unbridled greed. Depending on one’s background and resources, the darkness is often seen as someone else’s problem or ignored altogether as walls of privilege, circumstances, and greed give false security from the darkness.
In this season of Advent, we know there is a different option. To face the darkness and bring light into a world with courage, capacity, and will. To paraphrase Dr. King, darkness breeds when good men and women remain silent. It is time to first hold the line, to say enough, and then move with one voice to not only call for change, but to create change.
The movement comes when each of us owns the change and acts accordingly. Poverty ends with a living wage job and access to the opportunity of such work and the ability to build assets for all people. Help create such jobs. The environment heals when we change habits with how we use and produce energy, what products we buy, how we grow our food, and we bring such change across the globe, one individual and one community at a time. Authoritarianism falls in the face of free and fair elections and when elected officials and the judiciary put Grandchildren over greed. Racism and discrimination fade when people learn we are not different on what matters, and we are stronger together. Will we live our baptismal covenant or say the words without living them? It says every human being, not just some.
Darkness will consume us as a society if we do not deal with it as a society. In the face of no alternatives, people turn to violence in all its forms, both hard and soft. It is time to create alternatives. As we head into this season of Advent, waiting for the light, let us each consider the power of the light and not only wait for it on Christmas Eve but commit to creating it every day.
“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness” or accept it.
Peace in the season of Peace, Hope is this season of Hope, Joy in this season of Joy, Love in this season of Love.
The four candles of Advent.
- David Griffith
Executive Director and Head Coach