The year 2009 has been a trying year for many of us. In our personal lives, the recession has hurt people’s jobs, diminished their savings, and placed enormous stresses on their day-to-day functions. Nationally, watching the Democrats at work at home and abroad has provided us with all the thrills of watching a polar bear rip apart a seal. There’s a certain bizarre fascination with this spectacle, but it’s still sickening. Today’s Senate vote was just the coup de grace in this Democrat blood sport. But still….
For those who are Christians, I know that this time of year goes well beyond gifts and lights and holiday sales. It is about the birth of the Messiah — the moment in the earth’s darkness when a light burst forth upon the earth, with the promise of grace and redemption. Every year, this celebration matters deeply but, in times of trouble, honoring Christ’s birthday has, I think, more resonance than usual.
Even if we do not share in this celebration (whether because we worship in a different faith or in no faith at all), this should still be a time of light in the darkness. For those of us who are Jewish, and who have just finished celebrating Hanukkah, this season is a reminder that a small band of committed warriors can take on and bring down an empire. Whether God makes his hand visible, or acts invisibly through people who refuse to give up their beliefs really doesn’t matter — what matters is that we keep on fighting because we have faith in our commitment to America, a faith that translates, quite simply, to a bone-deep commitment to freedom.
So to all of you, new friends and old, I wish you a very Merry Christmas, one that fills your heart with light and hope. We have a new year coming to us and, if we keep the faith and the focus, we can — and will — make a difference in the coming months.
(That’s the Christmas Tree Cluster, deep, deep in space, a reminder of the lasting miracles in the world around us.)