By Jacob David
Last year there was no Black Friday in Chicago. A policeman had fired 16 shots to kill a 17-year-old African American man a year ago, but the video surfaced only after 400 days. In November as well, three people were killed at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs. In Mali, two men held 170 people hostage and killed 20 of them; the siege ended when commandos stormed the hotel, freed the hostages, and killed the attackers. And, in Paris, 130 died because of a terrorist attack.
We live our lives in a time such as this. Planes are being shot down. And we hear from the presidential candidates messages of doom and gloom. The safety of the world, and particularly the United States, is in jeopardy. In the political arena, especially from the presidential candidates, we hear no encouraging words. Building a wall around our country won’t cut it. The increased police presence at New York’s Port Authority bus terminal and Times Square confirms we live in fear. A republic of dreams is gradually turning to a republic of fear.
People ask whether there is any hope at all. There are very many of us who are busy trying to forget the grim situation around us making ourselves busy traveling back 2,000 years to that manger in Bethlehem – singing Christmas carols, giving each other gifts, preparing delicious dinners, and decorating our homes and Christmas trees.
In the midst of hopelessness, we are here to understand what hope means.
Our Scripture readings do not point us to Bethlehem or a manger. They point us to the future. They are helping us to a time when love will prevail and love alone will give us hope in our hopeless situation. The Apostle Paul speaks of love abounding and he thinks it is urgent because Christ is coming. The psychologist, Eric Fromm, would say that “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.” Then we can better sing the song “Love Makes the World Go ‘Round.”
The actor, Peter Ustinov, did a great job describing what true love is, hinting at the character of God’s love: “Love is an endless act of forgiveness, a tender look, which becomes a habit.” Real love, God’s love is endless forgiveness.