helleboreThis time of year the snow geese begin to wing their way overhead to the flooded fields to eat their fill. Raptors perch upon tree branches stripped of life except the limbs themselves. A white fog sits gently in the valley in the early morning and settles back in at dusk. Hellebore–the Christmas rose–are blooming and there are buds and early flowers on some trees and shrubs. “Wait,” I want to say to them, “ I have not even finished my fall putting the garden to bed.” I have not even curled up for my winter’s nap. Or sipped cocoa by candlelight snuggled up on the couch. Or spent fallow time in reflection. Though my heart cries out for light and sun, my body cries out for the enveloping darkness that creates safety and room to just be, where time folds in on itself…

I find myself approaching Christmas quietly this year. I have always found it to be a time when all the world pins its hopes on the innocence of a newborn who has no idea of the weight of that hope. When we give ourselves over to the absurdity of the possibility of peace. As if for a few hours on an eve, we can timidly allow ourselves to hope.

This year there are so many more situations of hopelessness that cry out for hope: the state of race relations; escalating gun violence; climate degradation; fewer and fewer fiscal resources to meet larger and larger social needs; the public revelation of governmental sanctioned torture; the holding hostage of the democratic process by special interest groups and their money- the list is devastating and paralyzing. I crave a winter’s reprieve from it all in hibernation.

And yet we come to Christmas both burdened by all that is and freed up by the vulnerability and miraculousness of a newborn. For in the words of Sophia Lyon Fahs, the revered Unitarian religious educator, “…each night a child is born is a holy night…” May the world be stilled if just for a moment in the coming days. May we be overcome if just for a moment with the irrationality of hope. May we believe if just for a moment that it will be a child-the children- that will come bearing peace. May we if just for a moment, witness a holy night…

May peace be with us all.

Rev. Lo