|Hope - Peace - Joy - Love - The Four Candles of Advent|
It's Christmas 2017.
One entire year of the Trump Administration.
Usually reflecting on the year, no matter how hard, is a joy...
we have each other...
we will get through.
During the four weeks of Advent, one of my favorite traditions is the Advent Wreath.
We have four candles, three purple and one pink, set in a circle.
We get to light one each week...so that by the time Christmas comes around,
there is serious light in the darkness...
four bright candles...shining triumphantly.
Holding open the spot...creating space for a baby...and a miracle...and family.
I was pregnant at Christmas time twenty five years ago.
All these years later, I cherish that extra special time of singing and preparing for two babies during that Advent in 1992,
not just one.
But this year is different.
I feel the weight of a year's worth of lies.
A year's worth of looking the other way.
A year's worth of pretending everything is ok.
I feel the crushing crashing of dreams of so many Americans withering on the vine...
this week it is grad students due to the tax bill that gives massive deductions to corporations over its citizens...
months ago, it was those with disabilities...
those with medical conditions...
...people of color...
...the LGBTQ community...
A year ago, I could feel an entire nation of children's eyes watching the adults in the room
it doesn't matter that she's never been in a public school classroom...
or that he derides the Environmental Protection Agency...
or that he flies private planes all over the United States at our expense...
lower your eyes...
pretend you don't see.
Are our children any better twelve months later?
They've seen open racism and half-hearted excuses.
They've witnessed their President UNwelcome entire nations of people.
The've had to accept a new normal and the sickening taunts of a president...
corruption and people so achingly out-in-the-open greedy that it insults those that work to teach integrity and honesty.
They've witnessed the open disregard for suffering people in Puerto Rico...
the pointed, barbed insults to people hidden in the shadows working for our safety...
the FBI, the CIA...
and our press...
with blatant untruths...
and intentional misinformation.
This Christmas I want to whisper who we are.I want to remind each of us what it means to be American.
Like the Advent candles, first I offer HOPE.We are better than this.
THESE THINGS STILL MATTER.
Millions resist openly.
Millions more resist in the smallest of ways.
Two-thirds of us...the majority of us say NO.
Light the candle of hope...and see how it breaks the darkness.
The second offering is LOVE.
Love is opening the circle wider...building a longer table...
love is recognizing fear and still pushing up your sleeves to do the work.
Love is the answer...the only response to racism and sexism.
Love is knowing that all humans are equal and working against injustice...
it's seeing yourself in the stranger.
It is living in the present moment.
What can I do right now?
and then taking the first step to begin.
Choose love and you change the trajectory.
Ours is not a small God...the endless, timeless beauty of the universe whispers the grandeur of Higher Love.
Breathe it in.
It is yours everyday for the taking...
grace in the ordinary.
Can you hear the murmurings??
The third offering is JOY.
With so much hatred, corruption and villainy...joy can be hard to find...but it is there.
There, in the ironic plot twist of a transgender women winning the seat away from someone who bragged that he was "Chief Homophobe" in Virginia.
In the way the sun still sets...the clouds still swirl across the sky...
the perfect simplicity of a cup of tea...or an act of kindness...a baby's laugh...a toddler's wonder...
rain on a rooftop...clothes fresh from a dryer...firefighters who work to save houses...and teachers who read out loud to students stories that bind us together.
Pick up a rock.
Try to watch the dance of a snowflake.
Gather friends together and cherish their company.
Walk your dog.
Hug your kid.
The last offering is PEACE.This seems like a wish.
Something out of reach.
But tonight I listened to a mother who had to bury her first grader after he was murdered at his elementary school in Newtown live her life with forgiveness at its core.
Five years after every mother's worst heartbreak, a woman named Scarlett showed me the way.
Forgiveness carries peace on its wings.
Nurturing, Healing Love.
She wants every human to have that and recognizes that her child's killer was unable to
either receive or give love.
One year of Trump's despicable behavior...his devastating cruelty...his duplicitous companions that tolerate the tarnishing of all that is sacred about our country...
one entire year.
Advent offers light in the darkness.
My whisper blows it forward...
to another you...and another you...
as Pope Francis said in his TED Talk:
"Hope begins with you and then another you and another you
until it becomes US.
When there is an us, there is a Revolution of Tenderness."
I'm ready for the Revolution.
I know you are too...
let us begin.
Light the candle.
Notice the warmth.
Offer it to others.
Remember the way home.
We are better than this.