Every year at this time the days grow shorter. We celebrate the end of the year with light—the Menorah, the Christmas tree, even the strings of lights on our porches—because we know that light will grow in the new year, and in the end, darkness will not prevail.
This year it has been harder than ever to see light and hope. The financial crisis continues, and millions are suffering. Yet our leaders speak, not of generosity and healing, but of austerity and sacrifice.
The earth, too, suffers. We are slowly killing the only place we call home, yet the nations cannot agree on a plan of action that might save it.
The triumph of darkness over light can seem inevitable at times.
It need not be. We are human and imperfect; but the past is prologue, not precedent. The future can be different, and we already know how to make it so. We know because the wisest among us, and our many spiritual and moral traditions, have shown us the way.
We can put truth ahead of ideology. We can practice compassion instead of expediency. We can seek justice, not advantage. We can choose to heal rather than destroy.
None of this will guarantee a way ahead. We may always fall short of our ideals. But the fact that we have ideals at all makes a better future possible. That alone is reason for hope.