This December has felt dark in a variety of ways, and I’m not just talking about the lack of daylight during our short winter days. There are multiple Dale community members who have been hospitalized. We still don’t know for sure if the friend I recently wrote about is dead or alive. My Mom and Dion both got the virus that has been floating around on top of their regular health challenges. You get the idea. Covering all of this is Advent- the period of actively waiting for Christmas. I keep trying to remember that the light of Christmas is on its way.
Being in a context like The Dale is a beautiful reminder that Christmas will come with or without packages and bows. In the dim light of this month, there have been moments of surrender, joy, love, peace and yes, hope in our little community. We have carolled and feasted. One person, though he has only sixty dollars left after he pays his rent, brought cheese and crackers to share at TWO of our Sunday services. As we handed out gifts on the street today, one man (who was panhandling) gave up his present to a friend who “needed it more”. A friend who was expected to not leave ICU is back in a regular hospital room.
We had a Christmas Eve service today. At the end, just before passing each other the peace, we spoke of the kind of situation Jesus was born into: birthed in a stable in an occupied country, soon to become a refugee. He was a gift then and is a gift now. And that, regardless of our circumstances, is something to celebrate.