IN these days of Advent, leading up to Christmas, the poetry of the prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures can once again be heard in our churches:

Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace.

Prophetic poetry helps us connect the dots between the world as it is and the world as it should be, by pointing out which part of present day reality, despite everything, is resonant with God’s hope and justice and peace.

Where our public space is increasingly deeply divided, where there is delight in a simplistic pitting one against the other, prophets help us towards a wider vision and understanding.

Prophets point us to God stirring in the world. This is the hope we celebrate at Christmas with the birth of Jesus: that there is a story of God in this world to be told and that we are invited to be actors in that story. There is more to life than meets the eye.

There are challenges ahead for our communities.

And there is hope because we can meet them when we work together and seek out all those people and places and actions that are resonant for serving the common good, for offering us vision, understanding, faith, hope and love.

Happy Christmas and blessings in 2019!