“For God so loved the world. …”
That’s the heart of Christmas and the wonderful “tidings of great joy” that the angels heralded at Jesus’ birth and which continue to echo around the earth.
During Advent we rejoice in the unfolding of God’s salvation plan through the birth of a child and the ministry of reconciliation Jesus came to enact. Yet even while figurines of lambs, cows and camels adorn our nativity sets, we often think God’s love for the world is reserved for us humans alone. But in truth, “the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains” (Romans 8:22), awaiting redemption.
And groaning it is. The December 2013 issue of response includes an urgent plea to the Church from Dr. David W. Orr, Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, to take the lead in addressing the evident warming of planet Earth, our only home this side of “Jordan.” Humans contribute greatly to the increased levels of the gases in the atmosphere that are warming the globe like a greenhouse. We are experiencing the impact in extreme weather events, rising sea levels, receding shorelines and melting arctic glaciers. It’s past time for denying what we now see with our own eyes.
We must act. We can resolve anew to make our Christmas celebrations a little greener—and much holier—by telling the biblical story of Jesus and then advocating for more sustainable ways of living that not only protect the many Marys, Josephs and holy children on the margins of our communities but also the Earth that we all must share. With our faith, hope and love in action, we can be the holiday lights that point the way to
Christ and preserve our planet.