oday, Christmas Eve, marks the official end of Advent. With brothers and sisters around the world, I have spent the last 4 weeks thinking a lot about waiting and longing.
Tonight we will read the Christmas story and go from waiting and longing to wonder and hope.
Alongside the news that I already have read today — asking what the coming Christ means in the face of so much senseless worldwide death and destruction — I lay a poem by Father Daniel Berrigan, a Jesuit priest who has spent decades thinking about peace in this very broken world.
Before I head off to Christmas Eve service, I am slowly reading Father Berrigan’s poem, a poem that moves me from Advent to wonder to hope to courage. I read it and commit anew to stand in solidarity with all with brothers and sisters around the world, affirming the promises of our faith fulfilled in the person of Christ.
Advent by Daniel Berrigan
It is not true that creation and the human family are doomed to destruction and loss— This is true: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination, hunger and poverty, death and destruction— This is true: I have come that they may have life, and that abundantly.
It is not true that violence and hatred should have the last word… This is true:For unto us a child is born, and unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting, the Prince of Peace.
It is not true that we are simply victims of the powers of evil who seek to rule the world— This is true: To me is given authority in heaven and on earth, and lo, I am with you, even unto the end of the world.
It is not true that we have to wait for those who are specially gifted, who are the prophets of the church, before we can be peacemakers. This is true: I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh,and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young shall see visions,and your old shall have dreams.
It is not true that our hopes for liberation of humankind, of justice, of human dignity, of peace are not meant for this earth and for this history— This is true: The hour comes, and it is now, that true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth.
So let us [move from Advent to Christmas] with hope, even hope against hope.Let us see visions of love and peace and justice.
Let us affirm with humility, with joy, with faith, with courage:Jesus Christ—the Life of the world.