So many religious traditions feature light in their celebrations this time of year. For Jews, the lights of Hanukkah recall the miracle of the temple lights miraculously continuing though the oil supply was running out. For Christians it’s the lights of Christmas, recalling the star that led to Jesus. For African Americans Kwanza’s seven candles recall the seven principles of Kwanza. For Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains, Diwali, the festival of lights, symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness.
As laborers for environmental justice and as people of faith, we must not let this season pass us by without basking in the light of hope that it reveals to us. We are of many faith traditions, but we all are drawn to this light of universal human hope—that the world, that life, that humanity should be, can be, and will be better. And it is our efforts, and those of countless others, that will make things better.
Will we ever see the completion of this work---the achievement of a perfect world and a perfect humanity? Indeed, will humanity and the world ever reach such a perfect state—a world without pollution, humanity living in perfect harmony with nature? Of course not. Humans are not perfect. We are prone to make mistakes over and over again. So the struggle to make the world better, to live more in harmony with nature is, and always will be, and endless effort, an ongoing mission for humanity. But the realistic hope is that we can make it all better---much better!
Let’s enjoy the light of hope that this season reminds of and keep on working to make it a better world.