Do we live in fearful times? It seems since I became a grandmother my fears have been harder to quiet. I have more anxiety about what is going on in the world because the youngest member of our family will live his life in the future we are building now. I am often fearful about what we are doing to our planet by putting economic concerns before care of creation. I am often fearful about what we are doing to the human family by emphasizing our differences and cultivating such a ‘them’ and ‘us’ dynamic rather than realizing we are all God’s children. I am often fearful because the citizens of the country with which Canada shares a border, continue to amass personal weapons at an alarming rate. During the Christmas season our church has been looking at how we can free ourselves from the fears that can overwhelm us as we walk down life’s road. Each Sunday we emphasize things people are doing that give us hope for the future and free us from fear, because they are signs of such great goodness. We can cultivate a sacred and positive spirit when we walk the road of life showing kindness, being fair, trusting, loving and serving others, and reaching out to include everyone. One Sunday a man who does lots of hiking shared stories about kindness and assistance received from fellow hikers. One Sunday a woman who has been lobbying to have a Freedom Road built to the Shoal Lake First Nation explained why building that road is the fair thing to do. One Sunday a woman who is blind talked to us about how often she must trust the goodness of others to make her way in the world. One Sunday we were told our church complex had served hundreds of people that week through the various services we provide to our community through our food bank, our children’s clubs, our partnership with a neighborhood school, our tutoring programs, our English classes for new Canadians, our daycare center, our seniors’ apartments and our morning out opportunity for young mothers. At a Sunday evening concert we collected more than $5000 to help bring a refugee family to Canada.
When I hear about so many good people doing so many good things my fears for the future are quieted. As we look forward to 2016 there is reason to be less fearful. We can be encouraged by the success of the Paris climate talks. We can be encouraged that despite exclusionary diatribes from some nation’s politicians many countries are turning a deaf ear to their noise and opening their doors to refugees. We can be encouraged that the American president publicly weeps and displays his anger at the loss of life in his country due to gun violence. Surely change will come. We can be encouraged that poverty, illiteracy and violent deaths from war are all on the decrease worldwide and life expectancy is on the increase.
This coming year instead of being fearful I want to look for actions that alert me to the divine goodness in the world, and provide evidence that the sacred spirit embodied in the life of a tiny prince of peace two thousand years ago is still alive and well.