Happy seventh day of Christmas, Y’all! And Happy New Year’s Eve.
On the seventh day of Christmas, Yahweh gives to us: Compassion.
I wrote a lot about compassion in the fall and winter of 2019 (you can check those out here). I felt compelled to offer up a different voice amidst the yelling and fist pounding, to speak about compassion as the antidote to the hate filled violence (physical and verbal) that has become all but normalized in our country. My intent with all that I write is to help us all learn to see the world around us through the eyes of compassion, as Jesus sees.
And then came 2020 and a worldwide pandemic revealed just how individualist we have become. We hoarded toilet paper, food, cleaning supplies, and personal protective equipment not giving one thought to others who needed these things, too. We were looking out for ourselves. We were given simple tasks to help contain the spread of a deadly virus and we whined because we couldn’t go to dinner or get a hair cut. People were dying and we decided our personal wants were more important than the overall greater good of our communities and the very lives of our neighbors.
It felt like my writings on compassion were like fixing a leaky kitchen pipe with a Q-tip.
And yet, the writers of the Gospel story felt it important enough to tell us that Jesus was “moved with compassion” when he saw people hurting and in need. There has to be something to this compassion thing.
Jesus sees all of us with the eyes of compassion. He sees our weariness of this past year. He sees our anxieties and concerns for the year to come. He sees our need for even the tiniest glimmer of hope. And he says to us, “do not be afraid. Follow me in the Way of Love and together we can journey through this next year shining the light of God’s love.”
Just as we talked yesterday about asking for forgiveness being as act of self-reflection to help us see ourselves more honestly, I believe part of seeing ourselves and others through the lens of compassion means being truthful about the situation in which we find ourselves.
It is an act of compassion to be honest with ourselves so as not to set ourselves up for failure with unrealistic expectations of the year to come. We aren’t going to wake up tomorrow, January 1, 2021, without COVID19, without the political polarization and extreme individualism that plague this country, without the systemic racism and social biases that blind us to true compassion.
But, we will wake with the start of a new day and a new year, a new beginning with God with the ability to choose to follow Jesus, walking in the presence of God, revealing God’s gift of compassion to everyone we encounter.
So, I invite you on this seventh day of Christmas to make time to ponder how you can participate with God in making our collective life on earth as it is in heaven. Ask God to give us all eyes to see and ears to hear compassionately as Jesus teaches us.
Together with God, we can be a force of compassion, moved to help heal this hurting world.