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The Resistance Prays

December 25, 2018
By Kathryn Berg

Today's Top Story
From the Washington Post and the New York Times: On Christmas Eve, fifty years ago, as Apollo 8 astronauts became the first humans to orbit the moon, they caught sight of the Earth rising out of the darkness of space. Awestruck, they managed to photograph the sight. The breathtaking photo, labeled “Earthrise,” caught the world’s imagination and changed how we look at ourselves. It symbolized hope, helped fuel the environmental movement, and inspired a sense of unity. Let it be our gift as well.
Scripture 
 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” - Luke 2:8-14, KJV
“Behold/The blue planet steeped in its dream/Of reality.”
Like 2018, 1968 had been a traumatic year. Deaths continued to mount in Vietnam, with no end in sight; at home, the streets were roiled with riots and the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. When “Earthrise” hit the wires, a public hungry for good news reveled in its beauty. Life magazine ran a photo essay with a double-page spread of the image and lines from James Dickey, the former U.S. poet laureate: “Behold/The blue planet steeped in its dream/Of reality.”

The news this last week/month/year has been largely awful, and we don’t have to look far to see heartbreak. More than fifteen thousand children are in U.S. border custody, many separated from their families. Trump directed the U.S. to withdraw from the Paris Accords and has rolled back environmental regulations affecting our air and water.  While Trump attacks the Federal Reserve, the stock market had its largest December decline since the 1930s. Just this week, Secretary Mattis resigned in protest over Trump’s sudden exit from Syria and Afghanistan, against Pentagon and National Security advice. Amidst a partial government shutdown that Trump advocated, thousands of federal employees are working without pay, while Trump sits in the White House, tweeting “poor me.”  Amidst this daily diet of horrors, it’s hard not to have some degree of "PTSD" (Post-Trump Stress Disorder).

In this time, the angel’s call feels particularly poignant: “Fear not...For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord….” There is pain all around, yet there is also hope. Today, let us affirm what inspires us. Behold, the blue planet.
Act
Walk outside. Take in the beauty; let it fill your soul. Affirm faith. Affirm hope. Affirm joy. Affirm peace. Affirm love. Fear not.
Pray
Dear God, as we celebrate the birth of Christ, we especially ask your blessings on the children in custody. Please bless their families and help them keep hope alive. We ask you to change the hearts and minds of our policy-makers so that the children’s hopes become reality. Thank you for your gifts of faith, hope and love. Fill us with your spirit as we share your gifts with each other and affirm them for ourselves. Amen.
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