Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

'We choose this time'

by Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

(From the Dec. 18, 2003 edition of the Inland Register)

There’s a strong sense today that the world has never been in worse shape. Between weapons of mass destruction in the hands of people who might use them on their enemies (as opposed to weapons of mass destruction in the hands of people who actually have used them on their enemies), to increased seismic activity under San Francisco (if it isn’t happening now, it probably will, soon) to volcanoes and drought and flooding and –

Not to mention what is done by our fellow human being (male or female).

It’s far too easy to become sucked into a sense of the negative. Perhaps it comes in part from our own sense of ownership of the world’s condition – that if we somehow worked harder, were smarter, more dedicated, better stewards, that things would go better, be better, smoother, happier, more equitable –

We try a little harder at the holidays to make things right. Perhaps, as Charles Dickens pointed out, “We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices.” Perhaps at this time of year, we feel our responsibility more keenly. Respond more keenly.

That’s good. Even great. At Christmas we’re frequently reminded of the things we should do all year: be generous. Be aware. Think first of others. Be kind. Be gracious and hospitable. Bake cookies.

It’s also easy, at Christmas, to become so very discouraged. It can all seem so futile. Sweeping back the sea with a broom. Pushing that rock up the hill.

Mythology aside, there are other things we should remind ourselves this year:

• God calls us to be generous. Not so that we can fix everything and everyone. But because God asks us to be generous – with what we have, with what we are.

• At this time of year, we’re reminded of something that’s true all year: We live in God’s creation, as God’s creation, and it is good. Creation is not our enemy; it’s God’s gift to us. And God made it, and us, and all of it is very, very good.

• We’re preparing to celebrate the coming of Jesus as a baby. And someday, that same Jesus will come again. We prepare for that, too, every day.

In all of it, we wait in joyful hope. Not in despair; not in a wallow of negative criticism. We wait in joyful hope, knowing that our God loved us so much that he was born among us. We wait in joyful hope, knowing that our God treasures us and holds us, all of us, saint and sinner, in the palm of his hand. And we wait in joyful hope, as a community of faith, knowing that we really are all in this together. Together in faith, in hope. Together with our God. Throughout the year. And now.

Merry Christmas.

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