“Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope.…It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope.”
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Have you ever seen a child alight with pure hope so powerful, so trusting, you’ll do whatever it takes to make his or her dream come true?
This is the season of hope for the child within each of us. Perhaps, just for today, you might choose to focus on the ideal of the rebirth each year of the long ago new idea, of perfect, unconditional love. Because if you reject the focus on the imperfect way we play this ideal out, just for today, you might find something of value for yourself in the truth that remains.
Just think about the ideal of perfect, unconditional love, itself.
But, you say, Christianity was responsible for the deaths of thousands. Millions. Therefore, God must not exist, and perfect, unconditional love is a myth.
Radical Islamists brought down the twin towers in the name of religion. Therefore, God must not exist, and perfect, unconditional love is a myth.
Some fundamentalists spew hate at gays and lesbians and use the Bible to justify their beliefs. Therefore, God must not exist, and perfect, unconditional love is a myth.
Jews…Hindus…Buddhists…everyone has done bad things in the name of their religion. And, by the way, I eat pork, and the Bible says not to do that. Therefore God must not exist. Perfect, unconditional love is a myth.
Bad things happen. People hate other people. Therefore God must not exist. Perfect, unconditional love is a myth.
Isn’t that a bunch of rubbish when we write it out? Or, more pithily, as Scrooge said, “Bah. Humbug.”
Bad things happen. Perfect, unconditional love exists. It is abundant and available in the face of scarcity, of evil, of those bad things. It encourages the abundant, innate goodness in each of us in the face of evil. It gives us the strength to comfort each other in the face of trouble. To help when bad things happen. To learn, to remember, and to avert future disaster. To connect with each other. To be one. To heal. To hope.
Perfect, unconditional love encourages and forgives. Always and everywhere. It is the purest essence of God. Perhaps, this year, spend a little time looking into what your concept of God is. Look at the god you don’t believe in. What *do* you believe in? What have others discovered in the ongoing search, dating back to the beginning of recorded history, for a greater meaning beyond day-to-day, self absorbed survival?
Tap into the ideal this season. Suspend disbelief. Open up. See your life begin to transform, over time, into something fine, made of hope, love and generosity. A happy life, even with the inevitable sorrow and pain that comes with openness. A sacred life. A courageous life. A quite amazing and rewarding life. Not care-free, but cared-for, and surrounded by the certainty of unconditional love – which, is simply perfect.