There is a chill in the air, which is certainly not unusual for this time of year. But there is something else, something I have not sensed on such a scale in many years: fear. There is, of course, suffering as well, the suffering of those whose fears have already come to pass. But above all else, there is foreboding.
Most of you already knew this. Unfortunately, I am not as blessed with a makeup that allows me to see facts and come to an immediate conclusion. I am one of those who rely heavily on intuition and reading the emotions of others. I have to feel something before I know it.
I recently was away on business, and it was there that I fully felt the magnitude of the situation in which we now find ourselves. I learned that what’s been going on at my place of business has been going on at almost every place of business throughout the country, maybe the world. Mostly I sensed the worry beneath the surface of every conversation; no one was spared – it was universal in every region and every field. Even our instructor was caught up in the events of these troubling times.
Seeing their eyes, I finally understood.
However, I can tell you that this dependence on intuition that plagues me also gives me a certain insight. Take it for what it’s worth, but that insight tells me something for sure:
We will get through this.
Make no mistake. The worst is yet to come. We are entering a dark time, and before it is over, we will grow so weary of bad news that we just won’t pay attention anymore.
But we will get through this.
Americans, for all the world to see, appear fat, and selfish, uneducated, materialistic, prone to bigotry, and rudderless. We have invested so much in this appearance, we have begun to believe it ourselves.
But I think something incredible is about to happen: we are going to rediscover who we are.
There is a spark within us, now barely an ember. We will hold onto this spark like a precious jewel, and it will cause us to, above all else, just hold on.
We will summon a strength we didn’t know we had, and we will somehow, miraculously, hold on.
We will find a mercy, the kind of which we had forgotten that we were capable , and we will help one another. In another time many of us might have been rivals, or even thought of ourselves an enemies, yet we will pull together and ensure that no person starves, no child is without clothes, no sick person is left out in the cold.
In headier days, we might have had arguments over the best way to do these things – and we will once again – but during this time in the desert we will take care of First Things.
We will, in defiance of a world convinced we are fat, selfish and lazy, somehow,impossibly, hold on.
We will get through this.
And then something else will happen. I have no idea what shape that Something will take. I don’t think our imaginations can yet see what it might be. But, with God’s help, it will lead us out of the darkness.
Do not look to the Halls of Power for this Something: fate does not work that way, nor history. From what I can tell, God does not work that way. Want to shake the foundations of history? Do not look to the gilded palaces of kings or rulers, but to a humble home’s first floor where animals are kept, in a dirty place where the goats are fed. God seems to take delight in bringing salvation from such surprising places.
Whatever this Something is, we probably won’t even recognize it until our children write the history of the time. Our dreamers will somehow envision it, our more grounded will take the Dream and design it, our workers will supply sweat and muscle and build it. No, I cannot see what shape this Something will take, whether it be a movement, or a new economy, or some new technology, or even a new way of thinking. But it will be glorious.
We will still have our malcontents and cynics who will constantly harp about how the Something cannot possibly work, and once it does, how there’s no way it can continue. They will not be heard. We will be so weary from being in the darkness for so long, once the spark within us becomes a flame, there will be no stopping us. We will shock the world with our sense of purpose and drive and optimism. The world will get caught up in our wake and follow.
Our faith, so often ridiculed, will save even those who do not share it.
This Something does not necessarily have to emerge from America, but I sense that it will. For all of its faults, America is by far the country that most tolerates dreamers. America has exported many things throughout its history, but its number one import has always been optimists.
From this fertile ground will arise those (maybe they have not yet been born) who will take the spark within us that we jealously guard, and fan it to a flame. When others have succumbed to the thought that just holding on is all we can do, these visionaries will let us know that there is a change in the wind. Then, we’ll take heart, and get to work.
I know that things are bad, very bad. I also know that they are going to get worse. I ache, knowing that so many will feel so much pain that they will grow weary of it.
But I also see that the day is coming that the weary world will rejoice. When we want to despair, we must hold on and wait for a change in the wind. When it is darkest, we must look for the dawn.
And what do you know? Yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Merry Christmas, America.