What are some of the problems we face as those who inhabit our planet?
Let me list a few:
1. A worldwide political system that permits millions of people to suffer desperate poverty and hunger with few options for relief and improvement.
2. An economic situation so bad here in the US that illegal immigrants are now receiving money from those they left behind rather than sending money back to their families. In other words, those who, at great danger to themselves, crossed borders in order to find better lives now find themselves far worse off than those they left.
3. More on the economic front: the mortgage and banking industry meltdowns continue to have ripple effects on those not directly involved, and it is the most vulnerable of our society that are being badly hurt. Those on the bottom rungs of the financial ladder, who live from paycheck to paycheck, but still could just manage, now find their working hours cut back or jobs completely eliminated. With that, their precarious stability is crashing, and with that crash comes another ripple of financial distress for the businesses utterly innocent of wrongdoing.
4. A simply disastrous health care system in the United States for anyone who is not covered by some sort of health insurance policy. Add to this a national diet and life-style that are destructive to health and well-bring, and we have a set-up for a major health-care implosion.
5. A great loss of civility in public discourse, and that lack of civility rules in private discourse as well. Kindness and patience seem to have disappeared.
6. Our children are being sexualized at a younger and younger age. Innocence, play, and good use of the imagination seem to be lost arts among more and more of our over-scheduled and over media'd children and youth.
7. A growing indifference to the development of strong moral and spiritual lives, including the extremely necessary disciplines of self-reflection, self-control, self-awareness and the recognition that there is a greater reality than that which we can see, hear and consume.
All this is just a teacup in the oceans of trouble. Does this world need a savior? Yes, and I believe that God has sent one.
Each year, we gather on Christmas Eve to enter again into the mystery of the Incarnation, where a holy and what often seems an inaccessible God takes on human form and says, "Let's talk about this. There's a different way to live and there is a different way to die and a different way to find life again after death."
I think the mystery of this time is God's invitation to conversation. Let's consider joining that conversation and becoming even more fully those who bring healing, not more pain, to the world as we too, know of our need for a savior.