Part of the message of Advent and Christmas is not about how life and world actually are. The past several days have shown, again, how brutal and heart breaking life can be. But, instead, the message of Advent and Christmas is about how we imagine life and world could be. The language of the parts of the Bible that Christians read at this time of year is symbolic and hopeful and pointing to a someday beyond the horizon of today.
Weapons of war transformed into tools that nurture and sustain.
Those in need provided for.
Nations refusing to train citizens for war.
No one living in fear.
Peace…known by one and by all.
The imagery here is not all pie in the sky, but taps into our deepest longings and our bravest hopes which is a part of the reason, I think, of the appeal of Christmas to so many, even to those who do not buy into the traditional Christian understanding and practice.
The challenge we face is not our lack of imagination.
The challenge is taking those steps…
Sometimes baby steps…
From where we find ourselves today towards that which our imagination tells us just might be. I think, too often, we get side tracked by thinking we have to have how we get from here to there all figured out before we begin. And, because that is impossible or just too overwhelming we just mark time where we are.
But, the time for just marking time is past.
With the slaughter of the innocents last Friday in Newtown, CT the time is past for just talking about gun control and mental illness. We may not be able to take all the steps needed at one time, but we can take one step.
And, so, too, with peace.
And, so, too, with hunger.
And, so, too, with…
You fill in the blank.
Imagine if we all took one step today…
And another one tomorrow.