For Christians, the four weeks before Christmas are a time of spiritual preparation. We call it the “Advent Season” One of my favorite Advent hymns has these words, “O come, O come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here….”
Last week when 14 people were killed in San Bernardino I couldn’t help but think that we are living in exile too. Even though most of us are living in our “native land” we are far, far away from what our land could and should be. We as a nation languish in a reality where hateful rhetoric burns ever hotter and violence and death explode in unexpected places.
But I refuse to surrender to this hateful, divisive spewing. I refuse to allow fear to control my life. Though I may be in exile, I am not lonely. Friends, family and congregation–people who share grief and longing with me, people who are willing to shout hope and compassion against those who peddle paranoia and hatred.
So I start these mornings of Advent thanking God for the day, for the opportunities I have to speak and show kindness. And I sing that yearning song….O come O come Emmanuel….