If I were granted only one Christmas wish, it would be to preserve a livable climate because peace on earth, good tidings of great joy, and beloved community cannot be sustained without a livable climate.
Everything that is good, loving, and just in the world requires a livable climate in which to exist. If we believe that God loves the world, then the last thing we would ever want to do in response to that love is create a climate that no longer supports the existence of humanity and countless other species of life on our planet.
Everything that Jesus encourages his followers to do would be destroyed in an unlivable climate. Peacemaking is futile in an unlivable climate when humanity is in a constant state of war over dwindling resources. Doing justice can only bring fleeting results in the midst of economic and ecological collapse brought on by climate chaos. Loving one’s neighbor becomes much more difficult when one is simply scraping by for survival in a world that no longer can support the lives of billions of persons. Feeding the hungry in a world with diminishing agricultural outputs will not ultimately avoid mass starvation. And there will be too many strangers to welcome in the chaos of the coming climate refugee crisis.
The poor, the vulnerable, and the oppressed will simply become more poor, more vulnerable, and more oppressed as the climate becomes unlivable. This is anything but good news.
If the ghost of Christmas Yet To Come could come to warn us of what we are bringing into the world, the ghost would point to a vision of unspeakable suffering that is the polar opposite of the beloved community of love and justice that is the way of Jesus in the world, and the only way to avoid it for us to wake up from the nightmare of the age of fossil fuel and create a movement together to turn away from our collective and systemic Scrooge-like greed that is hurling our one world house, our only home, towards death.
So in the fierce urgency of now, my Christmas wish is that we turn away from our dependence on fossil fuel and find a way towards a livable climate out of love and compassion for all humanity and all life on earth. Only then might we once again hope for peace on earth and be able to bring good tidings of great joy for all.
This post has me humming an Amy Grant tune, “Grownup Christmas list”, and inserting the words, “No more fossil fuels to burn, no CO2 imbalances, no unjust saddling of earth’s most vulnerable; this is my grown-up (sane) Christmas list”.