Posted tagged ‘Advent’

Hope Where There Is No Hope (or Is There?)

December 2, 2016

Diana Bass is an author, speaker, and independent scholar specializing in American religion and culture. She wrote this post on Facebook. Sadly, in our post-election world, she’s had to limit the audience of her posts because public writings have been slammed by trolls. It’s exhausting.

But here she tells a story of a young Black woman who doesn’t have a comparable version of that, who is out there among the trolls on a daily basis. So far this woman has hope. Hope — the theme of the first week of the Advent season. We need to remember this; like Diana, we need to turn from the evil to the light, to acknowledge and lift up those who do the right thing.


I’m in a hotel this morning in Florida where some sort of conservative conference is being held. At breakfast, four older white men were at the table next to me. One was a media activist-pundit (who I think I recognized). They were talking VERY loudly bragging about how they have “total power” and how they are going to destroy everything President Obama did, how easy it is to manipulate people to get them to vote for them and how they planned on taking over every single county government in the state of Florida.

There was a young African-American woman waiting on them. She did her job with thoroughness and kindness. As I watched, they spoke of disgusting racist things and openly extolled DT in front of her — who they seemed to think was invisible. And the more they bellowed their retrograde views, her body actually recoiled as she tried to serve them.

I was VERY angry. VERY ANGRY.

When she came over to my table, I told her that those guys might be white and I might be white but I thought they were assholes and that I wasn’t on board with their plan, how sorry I am about what happened. I told her that wanted to go over to their table and slap them upside the head. She laughed.

She said, “You know, one day all this hate will finally die out. It doesn’t bring life. It cannot survive the long term.”

I said, “I kind of hoped it might die before I do.”

She said, “Well, that’s probably a bit too soon! But I have hope. Hate has no life of its own. Another generation or two. It will die.”

“Meanwhile, we work for our communities. We love our families, care for our neighbors, celebrate life.”

And she went on, “And meanwhile, we work for our communities. We love our families, care for our neighbors, celebrate life. And them?” She gazed over to the table with a mixture of resignation and pain. “They are the last of a dying world.”

As she spoke to me, her back straightened, her eyes glowed, passion filled her voice. And finally she said, “It is really nice, however, that a white lady like you noticed how awful they are. Thank you. We all need to pay attention and do our part.”

She is 27.


December Synchroblog — Advent: The Journey

December 8, 2010

Here are the contributions to this month’s synchroblog:

An Advent post: Christmas WILL happen!

December 7, 2010

When I worked in the corporate world, I worked for awhile in a software development team. It is a maxim in software that there is never any time to do things right–or at least not completely right: the attitude is that “we can always go back and fix it later.” There was just a rush to get things into production.

Somehow, that reminds me of Advent. We’re in such a rush to get to Christmas that we want to light all of the candles of the Advent wreath all at once. We want to tear open the little windows of our Advent calendars RIGHT NOW and discover that Christ is born and in our midst once again.

We can’t stand letting the world be quiet for awhile. We want to skip right past hope, peace, joy and love in order to rush to the manger and the baby Jesus.

I’m a cook. I love the process of thinking about what I’m going to prepare, then doing the chopping and the cooking, layering the flavors together so that everything turns out as close to perfect as I can make it. I like to think about what I’m doing, to determine if a shallot would be better than an onion, if fresh herbs are better than dried. I enjoy the growing aromas filling the house as the dishes come together. I like setting the table, seeing it as a blank canvas ready to be painted. I like when people sit down and eat, enjoying the flavors as well as one another’s company, and I appreciate the declaration that “this is good.”

Advent is like cooking a nice meal at home. It can be simple or it can be fancy, but it can’t be fast food. It needs flavor. It needs color and texture. And it needs to be a unique experience–not something manufactured for us by someone else. That manufacturing process, after all, is much that has ruined Christmas for many of us.

Everything in life happens in order and in its own time. After all, when the angel came to Mary with the amazing news that she would be the mother of the Savior of the World, she still had to go through nine months of pregnancy. Maybe we should view the four weeks of Advent as a quick symbolic representation of the coming of Jesus embodied in the expectancy of Mary. I’ve never had children of my own, but I’ve known lots of pregnant women. Whether this time is difficult or easy, the one thing these women all go through is waiting. There is no choice, for the child will not come until it’s time for the child to be born.

Sure, we can anticipate the arrival of Jesus. But he’ll be here before we know it. Also, waiting can make the actual experience that much richer! As Gene Peterson (The Message) retells Isaiah 25: 9-10:

Also at that time, people will say,
“Look at what’s happened! This is our God!
We waited for him and he showed up and saved us!
This God, the one we waited for!
Let’s celebrate, sing the joys of his salvation.
God’s hand rests on this mountain!”