The first time I heard the phrase 'a way forward' was in the early years of the millennium and it rang with the darkest irony. My husband was physically disabled with terminal cancer and a palliative care regime was the only option.
How to proceed is, in some measure or other, the challenge, the trial, the privilege, we face with the dawning of each new day. In what frame of mind and heart we approach it will determine outcomes in the near and far future. Daunting responsibilities may be presented we aren't wise enough, nor foreseeing enough, nor strong enough, to tackle. There are times when we cannot 'go it alone' without breaking down. We need help. We need each other. We need a loving Heavenly Father who will not fail us nor forsake us and who will undertake for us in our direst moments.
In a democracy, the 'ordinary people' are the movers and shakers. We look to governments to enable a framework in which we can flourish as human beings and play our part. The rest is up to us. Shades of politics, whether blue, red, yellow or green, Right or Left, Leave or Remain, are very much states of mind, mere theories, and not the reality of how things work out when rival agendas run riot. If we look for divisions, we will surely find them. If we focus on them, we will become obsessed by them so that perspective becomes entirely warped and destructive.
What we deal with on the ground is bigger than any ideology.
Sometimes, it is good to take stock of where we have come from as a people and as a family of nations. If we aren't devastated by the faith, the charity, the community, the respect for healthy boundaries and sincerely held opinion of others that have become a casualty of recent decades, how shall we begin to Hope? How shall we build a new era?
The other day, I came across this statement: Time is not given to us to keep a faith we once had, but to acquire a faith we need now.
A vigorous faith.
Once, we assented to the idea that there was a better path than everyday expediency. We relied heavily on guidelines, a route map, exemplars. Even when it hurt, we felt happier when we had done our best to obey cheerfully. Those times we went our own sweet way, we felt dissatisfied, frustrated, depressed, remorseful. Though we still respected the blueprint that might appear flawed, we sensed, deep down, that something further was needed. Some agency beyond us. A Deus ex machina.
We are weary of strife. For those who persevere, the crack in the door of Advent sheds an illumination we are drawn to and blessed by. The door, nudged further and further ajar, banishes the shadows, until at last we behold the unspeakably humbling Truth, that the God of Creation is the little child born within our very injured and suffering selves and that when we honour him with generous and thankful hearts, day in, day out, never mind the circumstances, His Kingdom is manifest within and about us. The miracle of shared and sharing Bread begins to renew the face of the earth.
We fail. We fall short. It is a journey. If we want a better world, let us acknowledge that we cannot construct it alone, neither for ourselves nor as a race.
Let us pray for, and long for, the hastening of that time when ‘the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.’
I wish you a Blessed Advent, Christmas, and Hope in the coming year.