Advent: Hope Arising

This past weekend marked the third Sunday in Advent.

We were reminded that Advent is about hope. Amongst a cascade of challenging news about Pine Ridge, greed in wealthier tribes, child abuse, and climate change, we acknowledged the year’s uprisings of people around the world, gatherings where multitudes called for freedom, economic fairness, and solutions to climate change.

I wonder sometimes whether the mainstream media wants us to feel hopeless. They do a poor job of covering active dissent at home, and distort change movements abroad. They give a great deal of air time to those who deny climate change, and little to those who continue to document and/or be affected by it. I guess, just as in California tribes, money and greed speak loudly these days.

I was raised more traditionally, and encouraged to share what I had. Of course, by most standards, our family was, for most of my youth, poor. Yet we shared. My parents gave 10% of their income to their church, and additional monies to charity. Sometimes I was not happy with this, especially when I had to wear old, ill fitting clothes to high school. Only in retrospect do I understand the values my parents hoped to impart in us. They would, I think, say the fate of any person is the fate of all humanity. My parents turned to their Native and Christian values to resist the flood of greed and prejudice they saw around them.

Next week brings the Solstice.

This year, the Solstice, Hanukkah, and Christmas  occur in the same week! As Yule approaches, the spirits of the land and the Ancestors remain close to us.  They love acknowledgement, and the merriment of the Holidays.

Now, as the darkness gathers, let us take hope in our parents’ and ancestors’ acts of kindness, caring, and resistance, acts that allowed us to survive, and opened possibilities for our, and our children’s, future.

May we take hope in the voices of young people who demand justice. May we take hope in the promise of the generations to come. Soon, the dark will reach its apogee, and the light will again, ever so slowly, swell.

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2 thoughts on “Advent: Hope Arising

  1. Your words, Michael, touch the heart as usual.

    I, too, was raised in poverty. The choice of employment for the men in our neighborhood was munitions plant, army depot, or production line. Money was scarce, and quite often as a child I would deliver a pot of soup to a neighbor because “my mother had made too much”. It’s no surprise that dinners often arrived at our home for the same reason.

    As we were an Orthodox Polish parish, the holiness of the season was almost tangible as Christmas approached. Midnight Mass was nothing short of sacred.

    Though my own spiritual path has led me away from my Roman Catholic roots, the sacredness of this time remains with me to this day. This gift, given to me by the patriarchs and matriarchs of my father’s Polish lineage, is a gfit for which I’m eternally grateful…

    • Thank you! Two of my most fond memories happened in the same French Canadian Catholic church, here in Vermont. Over thirty years ago a group of friends and went caroling. We decided to carol for the nuns at the church. They invited us in and showed us their sacred relics – they said it had been YEARS since they had been caroled! We later learned the nuns NEVER show their relics! The other memory is of the same church, a few days later – at Midnight Mass. The church was alive with spirits, angels, dragons, you name it! I have never seen anything like it!

      I just remembered an ice storm that occurred when I was in 6th grade, and living in rural Illinois. For some reason our house had power, although few others did on our street. Each day, another snow and/or ice storm hit. Finally we stopped even trying to go to school. My parents invited neighbors to camp out at our house. For a few days, the floors were covered in mattresses and sleeping bodies! It was magnificent!

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