After a very busy autumn I find myself this morning in the Advent-Christmas season in quiet appreciation. Like most of you I was too busy these past few months and that is not good. We are called to live out in our own personal and communal lives that very truth which we proclaim in word and gesture. It is only the Reign of God, which truly matters. All else is secondary.
I find myself collecting bits and pieces from articles, books, lectures and conversation. That seems to be my sense of these times – bits and pieces from here and there. We try to weave these bits and pieces into a direction, a vision, a word of hope and encouragement.
Walter Brueggemann in a new book of prayers writes the following: “For those of us too much into obedience, birth us to the freedom of the gospel. For those of us too much into self-indulgence, birth us to discipleship in your ministry. For those too much into cynicism, birth us to the innocence of the Christ child. For those of us too much into cowardice, birth us to the courage to stand before the principalities and the powers. For those of us too much into guilt, birth us into forgiveness worked in your generosity. For those of us too much into despair, birth us into the promises you make to your people. For those of us too much into control, birth us into your vulnerability of the cross. For those of us too much into victimization, birth us into the power of Easter. For those of us too much into fatigue, birth us into the energy of Pentecost.“We dare pray that you will do for us and among us and through us what is needed for newness. Give us the power to be receptive, to take the newness you give, to move form womb warmth into real life.”
A friend sent me along the following from Barbara Kingsolver: “HOPE – the very lest you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof. What I want is so simple I almost can’t say it: elementary kindness. Enough to eat, enough to go around. Right now I’m living in that hope, running down its hallway and touching the walls on both sides.” My greeting to each and every one of you this Christmas season.
Paul E. Hansen