Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas 2018

Merry Christmas! And to my non-Christian friends, Happy Holidays! May we behold the spirit of the season, which is the spirit of peace and goodwill.

But first, let me briefly play Scrooge.

Even the most casual observer of current events knows that this nation and planet face crisis. The litany of troubles is long and they are grounded in the opposite of peace and good will: in discord and egoism. To which we could add greed, narcissism, prejudice, anger and hate.

And yet, as my late mother used to say: perhaps it is darkest before dawn. Perhaps the message of hope and redemption that is the story of Jesus’ birth and the foundational story of many other religions and belief systems is the story we should still tell.

As difficult as it sometimes can be reading the headlines, not to mention being in my line of work – journalism and public-affairs TV – in my heart, I still do.

The story of light and hope.

The Adoration of the Shepherds, pupil of Rembrandt.

I see it writ daily in a baby’s eyes, the joy of children and the selfless love of good parents. I see it in teachers and social workers and healthcare professionals and rescue personnel who risk their lives to save a stranger. I see it in artistic creation, in a great book, movie or TV show, in a comedian at the top of her or his game (we could all use a laugh, right?!) I see it in the quiet strength of people who live daily with medical and behavioral-health challenges. In people who toil at thankless jobs in order to support their families and hold the dream. In farmers, and in the clergy, scholars and scientists who dispel darkness and hold humanity high. In the generosity of philanthropists and those who practice Tikkun Olam. In my wife’s smile and her softly held hand. In my children and grandchildren and the colleagues and friends who fill and bless my life.

I see it in red sky at night, and in the birds and the gardens, slumbering now but counting on spring.
So that is my hope on this Christmas – hope.

Hope that these many forces of light, which in number vastly outnumber the dark, will prevail.  
Let me part with a quote from that great American storyteller, Bruce Springsteen, who closed his recent Broadway show this way:

 “Remember that the future is not yet written. So when things look dark, do as my mighty mom would insist. Lace up your dancing shoes and get to work.”

Come 2019, shall we?

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