Daily Meditations

Thirty-First Day of Christmas Advent, COME EMMANUEL, GOD WITH US! (Part I)

In more ways than one, we are waiting in darkness. Isaiah prophesied Jesus’ birth, saying, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:2).

Yet, the darkness will never totally go away. I’ve worked long enough in ministry to know that moral evil isn’t going to disappear, but the Gospel offers something much more subtle and helpful: “the light shines on the inside of the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it” (John 1:5). Such is the Christian form of yin-yang, our own belief in paradox and mystery.

We must all hope and work to eliminate darkness, especially in many of the great social issues of our time. We wish world hunger could be eliminated. We wish we could stop wasting the earth’s resources on armaments. We wish we could stop killing people from womb to tomb.

But at a certain point, we have to surrender to the fact that the darkness is part of reality, and my logical mind does not know why. But the only real question becomes how to trust the light, receive the light, and spread the light. That is not a capitulation to evil any more than the cross was a capitulation to evil. It is real transformation into the unique program of the Crucified and Risen Christ. This is the one pattern that redeems reality instead of punishing evil or thinking we can eliminate it entirely. Our main job is to face it in ourselves.

~Adapted from Richard Rohr, Preparing for Christmas: Daily Meditations for Advent


Kingdom people are history makers. They break through the small kingdoms of this world to an alternative and much larger world, God’s full creation. People who are still living in the false self are history stoppers. They use God and religion to protect their own status and the status quo of the world that sustains them. They are often fearful people, the nice proper folks of every age who think like everybody else thinks and have no power to break through, or as Jesus’ opening words put it, “to change” (Mark 1:15, Matthew 4:17).

Why do we love and admire kingdom people like Mary and Joseph, and then not imitate their faith journeys, their courage, their non-reassurance by the religious system? These were two laypeople who totally trusted their inner experience of God and who followed it to Bethlehem and beyond. Mary and Joseph walked in courage and blind faith that their own experience was true—with no one to reassure them they were right. Their only safety net was God’s love and mercy, a safety net they must have tried out many times, or else they would never have been able to fall into it so gracefully.

~Adapted from Richard Rohr, Preparing for Christmas: Daily Meditations for Advent