Blessings of the season
There’s a song called “Hanukkah Blessings” by Barenaked Ladies, and in it is a line: “we remember how Maccabees fought so that all of us could be free.” I am not Jewish; that is not really part of my story, so why should I believe that Maccabees did anything for me?
I occurred to me that, while some might see their belief-system as being the one and only way, all people want to include all others in their world view. Even an atheistic perspective that may say, “you must have tangible, measurable evidence for something to be regarded as true or real,” is a way of including all people in one particular world view (that is, the laws of physics, and the discoveries in science, apply to us all, and – in their best sense – that is what many atheists desire for a basis of unity among peoples).
A colleague of mine brought to my attention (through a Facebook post) the Nobel lecture for the Literature prize, evidently just posted today. Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa says:
“We would be worse than we are without the good books we have read, more conformist, not as restless, more submissive, and the critical spirit, the engine of progress, would not even exist. Like writing, reading is a protest against the insufficiencies of life. When we look in fiction for what is missing in life, we are saying, with no need to say it or even to know it, that life as it is does not satisfy our thirst for the absolute – the foundation of the human condition – and should be better. We invent fictions in order to live somehow the many lives we would like to lead when we barely have one at our disposal.”
It makes sense to me that our ability to imagine who we are and who we might be, and then to communicate that, is a way in which we frame reality. So the stories which I include in my reality include you – whether you would include those stories in your reality, or not. It’s part of what gives me faith, and it’s reason to keep believing – with an openness to others’ experiences.
While we’re in the season of Hanukkah for Jews, as a Christian, I am in the season of Advent – the season of anticipation and expectation. I look forward to the coming of Christ. I also am conscious that Christ’s coming – and that for which Jesus stood for – is up to me (at least in part). It affects how I live and relate with others.
The story in which I find myself is a story I think we can all relate to – we’ve all experienced eager anticipation, and we’ve all waited, expecting the arrival of something or someone. In that spirit, I wish you a blessed Advent!