On this New Year I was reminded it is nearly impossible to remember that, from Moscow to Jerusalem, there was once a time of promise.
Between 1989 and 1995, the following happened: the fall of the Berlin Wall and the liberation of Eastern and Central Europe; the collapse of Soviet Communism and the seeming end of the Cold War; the brief appearance of a pro-democracy movement in Beijing and other Chinese cities; the end of South African apartheid; and the signing of the Oslo Accords by the Israeli leadership and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
In many nations people, who had endured so much oppression and tragedy, began to push the world in a direction of decency, democracy and compromise.
Much of this statement is oversimplified, yet the promise was real and it ran deep.
Now we live in ominous times, with Putin’s Russia laying waste to whole cities and towns in Ukraine, and the death count continuing to mount in the Middle East. Will the Middle East conflict expand to Lebanon, Syria and Iran? Only a fool does not recognize difficult days to come.
Yet, you and I, people of faith, know that God never promised life would be easy. He did promise to stand with us, to not leave us orphaned and abandoned. The Christmas Season celebrates that God chose to identify with us in every respect, including the challenges of dark days. In every day and time His name is Emmanuel – God with Us.
As 2024 dawns, we have a vision of a new heaven and a new earth. We know that from death comes new life, out of darkness the light will shine and this tired and sick world will be renewed by the grace of God and the just work of human beings.
May 2024 be a year of new beginnings for each of us and for our world.
Fr. Steve Adrian