In these days of diminishing light, it is hard not to grow discouraged about the state of the world. Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of the tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. Yesterday and today’s newspapers bring accounts of the excessive and immoral torture of terrorist suspects by our own government, prompted by the fear and anxiety in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. It is tempting to succumb to the belief that we can do no better, and that ultimately the power of evil will prevail in the world.
As we move through Advent, we are invited to become expectant, hopeful, and even joyful. Not always an easy task when we look around at the world.
Some of you know that I write a poem each year for the Advent calendar that I design. In 2001, the poem was composed shortly after the attacks of 9/11. As I contemplated Advent that year, I tried to imagine what it would be like to be a parent about to bring new life into a world torn apart by terror and violence. I thought of that poem again this week, and offer it below as a meditation for living with the hope of what this season will bring.
How can I welcome you, loved one,
when terror and strife still torment the earth?
How, when I cannot protect you,
can I yet rejoice in hope of your birth?
Show me, O child of the Spirit,
how love born anew will overcome death.
Help me to welcome you gladly,
with all of my soul, my life, and my breath.