As I write these words I have just heard that a truck has careered through a crowded Christmas market in Berlin. The US electoral college is about to pass the majority to elect a President that many feel is not representative of the will of the people or qualified, due to his complicated history with morality and truth, and who has put climate change deniers and conspiracy theorists at the center of his government. The shells are falling on Aleppo where thousands of civilians are huddled in the wreckage of a once vibrant city. The Russian Ambassador to Turkey has been shot dead. And in one night alone in the last week, 9 people died on the streets of Vancouver from overdosing on fentanyl.
And we call this the season of good cheer?
Can’t we just press the reset button to Make. This. Stop?
No, we can’t. And so, it won’t stop. It won’t stop because we live in brokenness and pain, pain that we project on those around us. It won’t stop because all of creation is still groaning with the wounds that scar its very face. And it won’t stop because although we yearn for a Kingdom that is coming, it is not yet here.
Or is it?
Clearly, this world is in great need of healing, of generosity, of kindness and compassion, of the chance to talk openly and honestly and drop all the justifications and arguments that lead to the death and disruption all around us. So, to just say that all this pain and dysfunction is part of God’s plan to build His Kingdom would be an imbecilic and hard-hearted thing to say. But yet, there is a part of that statement that is true. Not true in the sense that He has ordained this suffering, that little seven-year-old Bana who is tweeting from Aleppo as people die around her is part of a masterplan that He worked out in ages past, with her plight as a minor sub point. No, not that kind of plan. But true in the sense that something is happening behind the darkness. Something seen only dimly that perhaps comes into a little more focus at this time of year, if we just have eyes to see.
The plan was put in place millennia ago and its keystone was born in the manger that we see on our cute Christmas cards. And those of us who follow are called to be His ambassadors of reconciliation, a tough, hard, often dirty job in this increasingly messy world. But not an impossible one. So now, that plan is, at least partly, in the hands of you and I.
As you read this, I urge you to ask yourself, do you add to the pain and dysfunction by your action or inaction? Do you add to the injustice so prevalent in the world by your inner thoughts and the truths you choose to believe? Or do you stand against the tide and find ways to practice God’s Truth in the way you interact with this broken, pain-filled, sorrowful world?
Each of us counts. Our voices and our actions matter, no matter how small those voices may sound in our own ears. John Wesley once said, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” That is all we can do. But, perhaps, it is enough.
In this season of bad will and no cheer, you can be the difference. So, what will you do to stand in the way of compassion and grace? What will be your statement of intent to a world that seems so dark? Who is it that comes to your mind when you think of someone you can show justice to? Who can you shine the Light of the World to this Christmas and beyond?
Our world is made better by the actions of those who won’t give in to the hatred; by those who become ambassadors of a Kingdom that is here, but not yet fully developed. So, when you find an answer to those questions, the response is simple.
Go. Do it. Don’t wait. Let your light shine. Now.