The day after Thanksgiving the holiday lights and other decorations were installed by the management of the complex where Carol and I live. Something deep within me registered a note of delight and joy. Hindu Diwali, Christian Christmas, Jewish Hanukkah, Pagan Solstice, and African American Kwanza all feature light as a symbol of deep-seated virtues and aspirations this time of year. It is as if we are completing our year-long voyage around the sun and pausing for a time in port to provision ourselves spiritually for our next voyage.
This provisioning involves celebration with friends and family as we count our blessings and cherish each other. It also involves grieving for those who have not completed the voyage with us and holding them in sacred memory. This year has been one of more losses than usual due to the pandemic, fires, floods, and hurricanes. The tragic, unnecessary deaths of African Americans at the hand of law enforcement weighs heavily on our national consciousness. Carol and I are grieving that this will be the first time in 35 years that, due to the pandemic, we will not be physically together with our son David and daughter Kristin at some point during the holiday season. Thank goodness for FaceTime.
Another concern at this holiday season is the economic desperation of so many who face hunger and homelessness, actual or imminent, due to the pandemic. The callousness of the U.S. Senate majority leader in the face of this need makes him “Scrooge of the year.” Carol and I are sending a holiday contribution to our local food bank and encourage you to do so as well if is within your means.
Holiday lights symbols of hope and there is much to hope for as vaccines come online. If normalcy is not just around the corner, it is likely that it will have arrived to a significant degree by next December. I just heard on the news that a bipartisan group of senators is putting together a package of Covid relief. This is some reason for hope as well.
I trust that you will avail yourself to the spiritual provisioning available through our services and other gatherings via Zoom in the coming weeks. I look forward to preaching on “Scrooge: From Humbug to Hallelujah” on December 13 and being part of our Christmas Eve service, “The Four Candles of Christmas.”
Happy provisioning to everyone.