Tonight is Christmas Eve. As I write, twilight has fallen over the landscape. Throughout the day we have had light snow and rain, and the snow cover has slowly retreated, leaving a thin layer of white covering the ground.
The Christmas story reminds us that as evening fell the Holy family was cold and hungry, and Mary was in labor. They would, between now and late evening, ask many for aid, largely unsuccessfully. As we retell the story, we are reminded there are many in the world who face hunger, homelessness and desperation tonight. As was the case two thousand years ago, they are too often met with a hard-hearted refusal to acknowledge their suffering. Instead of aid, they too often receive blame and marginalization.
We are a family of many faith traditions. In a few minutes we will light the first Hanukkah candle. As we do so we will remember the miracle of the temple candles, and the centrality of light as an emblem of hope in dark times, and of resistance to all forms of enslavement and genocide.
Later we will go to the Unitarian church’s Christmas Eve candlelight service. Undoubtedly we will be reminded of the journey of the Holy family, our obligation to stand against hatred and intolerance, and the importance of nurturing the hope that lives within the human heart and spirit.
Now as evening’s quiet descends over the valley, we send our hope that you and yours will be safe, comfortable, and joyous this evening and throughout this holy time, and that your faith, whatever form it takes, will be respected, protected, and cherished by all people.