Advent hope in a time of wildfires, disasters, and sacred lands stripped of protections

We wait in Advent for the coming of Christ, the birth of God in the world, to bring good news to all creation. We are invited to wait with hope, peace, joy and love as we light candles, read scripture, and pray in this holy time. Upbeat music and bright twinkling lights all around us communicate that this is a time of fun, good things.

Yet dissonance remains.

While Presbyterians and other people of faith from the U.S. witnessed at the United Nations climate talks that Americans will remain steadfast in working for climate justice, the official U.S. presence touted fossil fuels as solutions, compounding global distrust created by President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. will back out of the global Paris Agreement.

While the fall has been filled with horrendous natural disasters, we enter Advent with brothers and sisters in California evacuating from more wildfires. Disasters and climate change are becoming regular realities for Americans, and people around the world.

While we spend money on Christmas presents, tax laws are proposed and passed that will make the poor poorer.

While we decorate yards and trees with special proclamations of the season, lands held sacred by Native American nations in the West are re-opened for development.

God, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. God, have mercy.

God whispers hope, as people speak about being able to care for the earth and the economy as we protect the vital Clean Power Plan.

God whispers hope as Presbyterians learn about environmental justice and join the Poor People’s Campaign.

God whispers hope as letters from faith leaders condemn the re-opening of Bears Ears National Monument while moving on to advocate for the protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge this week.

We keep on standing, praying, preaching, advocating, acting, and proclaiming that God’s good news of love and light is for all creation. We have faith that the whispers of hope will overturn painful realities, against all odds. Even if we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, we stand firm and steadfastly live our faith. May our Advent prayers and practices include whispers of hope, actions for peace with justice, commitment to spread joy, and communication of love for all people and all the earth. May it be so.

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