Advent is a time of waiting. Advent is a time of darkness.
Yet there is still a message of hope, peace, joy, and love. But sometimes, the message of joy is hard to find.
Over the past few years, I have grown more aware that Advent is for people who don’t know how the story is going to end. What I am also coming to realize is that there are many people for whom that is still a reality: there are way too many people living in our country and throughout our world that have no idea how their story is going to end.
The unfortunate reality that goes along with that fact is this: there are many people for whom things are going so well they are deaf to the cries of those who are hurting.
#blacklivesmatter does not need to be changed. #icantbreathe does not need to be corrected. Nonviolent protests do not promote violent outbursts. People need to speak.
I am a privileged person. I have the opportunities that other people do not have. I have a voice that is often denied others. I cannot truly know the pain and fear of living as a minority in a culture with a history of oppression. I do know this, though: if I am feeling as if I cannot breathe, I can only imagine the difficulty for people who face the fear of death every day.
I Can’t Breathe because there seems to be no one to trust: those in power want more power; those in media want more ratings; those with national followings want more followers. There seems to be fewer and fewer people actually concerned with those who are suffering.
I Can’t Breathe because POC who are killed are villainized immediately with terms such as “thug” and rationalizations such as “he shouldn’t have been there in the first place” as if that justifies taking someone’s life.
I Can’t Breathe because people try to make one tragedy nullify the reality of another tragedy.
I Can’t Breathe because people are insisting support for one group of people necessitates rejecting other groups of people.
I Can’t Breathe because when I say the church needs to do a better job with addicts or those who suffer from mental health disorders I get only a little push back; yet when I say the church needs to do a better job with race relations I am called a racist and told to quiet down.
I Can’t Breathe because people are referred to as “it” and described as “demon.”
I Can’t Breathe because peaceful, non-violent protestors are immediately linked to violent crimes perpetrated by others.
I Can’t Breathe because our society is obsessed with the right to own a gun yet adults and children are shot on the spot for holding a toy.
I Can’t Breathe because our society is obsessed with the right to take life (war, death penalty, militarized policing, abortion) instead of being obsessed with what values life.
I Can’t Breathe because as I prepare to sing songs of worship and praise yet I am filled with despair thinking things will never change.
I Can’t Breathe…
“Behold, I bring you good news of great joy.”
The story is not over.