As I sit here at my desk to write this reflection in this new Advent season, the world I experience and live in has become newly chaotic, and I would even say frightening, given what has happened in recent weeks. Not that the world doesn't continually experience situations of disruption and chaos, but given the recent bombings, lives taken as a result of horrific acts, the genocide, the refugee crisis, the tensions here at home with communities of color and police, the lack of compassion for the value of humanity to name a few...paint a world and community that, for me, has become more than just chaotic.
As Advent begins, the familiar stories from Matthew and Luke swirl and swirl in my head, especially of Mary, making me pause and wonder if the cycles of history don't just come around at different times. When I think about the environment of the Roman Empire at that time, the political system and its lack of compassion for the value of humanity, the religious system that was in place, the tensions between the Romans and especially the Jewish community, the genocide of young children due to political fear, the fleeing of so many to escape harm...it was a dangerous and chaotic time. It is difficult to not compare the stories of then and now.
With the most recent refugee crisis being front and center in the news media, abroad and on the Mexican border, I find myself being drawn to the number of young, pregnant mothers struggling in their journey on the road to be free; risking their lives and their families to escape persecution and oppression. From the dangerous rafts on the ocean struggling to make it to shore, they walk for miles without food or water even in the desert. Harassed and refused at border crossings, they continue, even climbing through barbwire fences. Abandoned along the road to give birth in crude conditions, many die in hopes that they and their new child would somehow be free. These images sit with me as I enter my Advent readings with this young woman named Mary.