The season of Christmas is a time of reflection, hope and joy. Regardless of our faith tradition, each of us can take stock of our hopes and dreams for ourselves, our loved ones, our community and our world. We can look to Scripture to help us envision what those hopes and dreams might look like. In this the second week of Advent, Psalm 72 serves as a source for our imagination: “Justice shall flourish in his time and fullness of peace for ever.” In the Christian tradition, we spend four weeks of Advent preparing our hearts for the birth of Christ. The weeks are spent anticipating in great joy and hope the day when Christ ushers in an age absent of violence, injustice and division.
In Jewish homes around the world, Hanukkah is celebrated December 2-9, commemorating the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the Jews of Judah triumphed over their oppressors. Also called the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah marks the triumph of light over darkness. These holy days remind our Jewish brothers and sisters that the light of justice and peace will indeed reign over the darkness of conflict and injustice.
The season brings with it new opportunities for making peace within ourselves and with one another. The peace and justice that are promised to people of goodwill can be in the here-and-now during this holy season; we only need be open to new ways of responding to God's call.
I pray that you find time to set aside the demands of our fast-paced lives and share in the joy of the season with your loved ones.
Michael E. Engh, S.J.