On this night we gather

On this night, as we gather,

bellies spasm with hunger
winter seeps into the bones of people with no homes
thoughts turn to Syria, South Sudan and places between and beyond
people plot violence
children watch parents die of AIDS, wondering when their turn will come
relationships fray and come apart
children and women and men endure abuse
economic uncertainty undoes nations and households
walls divide people from their homes
handguns bark and blood flows
racism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, and more
privilege some and crush life from others
drugs surge through veins to allow escape from reality’s pain
death comes calling — sometimes welcome, sometimes not
sorrow and suffering spread around the world
trouble and turmoil touch us all
evil stalks the earth

Yet
in the midst of all that
in the face of all that
in spire of all that
because of all that
on this night,

we gather

to sing and pray;
read ancient words and light candles
as we celebrate again
the birth of a child —
— nothing more and nothing less
than the every day miracle —
except that this child — this Jesus —
tells us
teaches us
shows us
life does not have to be the way it is
but that it can be filled
with
hope and
faith and
grace and
sharing and
commitment and
community and
justice and
righteousness and
well-being and
wholeness and
peace . . .
. . . on earth . . .
. . . for all!

May it be so.

(originally written for Christmas Eve 2003; adapted annually since)

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Filed under Advent, Antiracism, Current Events, Human Rights

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