Yesterday was about transitions. We saw the electoral college certify that Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States. We learned that William Barr has resigned as the US Attorney General. We officially lost over 300,000 souls to the coronavirus in the US while also administering the first doses of a vaccine we pray finally stops this pandemic.
Yesterday was also a day of transition for one of my neighbors. Yesterday, she posted on our neighborhood app called “Next Door” that she could no longer feed her children or herself. Her reserves had run out. She needed to ask for help.
She wrote: “I am embarrassed to ask this, but I don’t have any food to feed my children. I’m not concerned if I don’t have food for myself, but I can’t do that to them. Can anyone help?”
‘Yes,” I thought to myself. “In the name of all that is Good in this world, yes, we will help.”
No one wants to ask their neighbors to help feed their children. I hold deep respect for her courage and vulnerability, as well as anger at the systemic conditions that put her in this position. We must do all we can to help.
Her story is the one that truly tells us who we are as a nation and world. Her story, like so many others, holds the fear of not having enough, the courage of asking for help, the vulnerability of being rejected, the pain of unemployment, and the anxiety of having few options to help herself.
Her story is the one that has captured God’s heart, just as all stories of struggle do.
We don’t yet know the ending, but we know that change is coming. She reached out and expressed her need. Will her story be one of a community coming together to help neighbors in need? Will hers be a story of people turning away, afraid that if they help her they wouldn’t have enough for themselves?
During Advent, we prepare for the coming of Emmanuel, God with us. We look for the signs – hope, peace, joy and love. This year, I have my eyes on my neighbor. At the heart of God’s in-breaking – how I always know that I am seeing God with us in the world – is when we love one another as ourselves.
We are in this together,