There are several traditions that happen around this time of year: Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. Each of these traditions brings to mind a common theme — the value of expecting good.
In the Hindu tradition of Diwali, we celebrate the power of good over evil, light over darkness. This festival encourages optimism and the pursuit of new opportunities.
During Hanukkah, we celebrate the story of the Maccabees. Having gone through horrific terror, the Maccabees recapture the temple and regain their freedom of worship. They then set about to light the menorah only to find that there is only enough holy oil for one day, but somehow, the menorah burned for eight!
At Christmas, the story of Jesus begins. Later in his life, he is a teacher. A crowd of 5000 appears for class, and worry begins that there is not enough food for such a large group. But then somehow, there is more than enough loaves of bread and fish to eat.
During Kwanzaa, we celebrate African cultural heritage and traditional values focused on gathering, admiration, commemoration, recommitment, and celebration. The seven principles (nguzo saba) of Kwanzaa utilize Kiswahili words: unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba), and faith (imani).
I believe these celebrations have the same lesson. In each success, there was an expectation of good. It may be that there was miracle of God. And then again, there may have been a different sort of miracle — the miracle which happens when we give of what we have, when we answer a call of higher power or a higher purpose.
Let’s face it, we have all lived through tough times. We have been short on supplies, short on help, short on money…short on people especially. We are always being called to class to learn something new. And we want new opportunities to succeed.
I don’t think the supplies are gone. We need to find new ways to ask for them. What are your ideas? I believe if we pull together, we will in the end overcome the struggles and have more than enough. Now is the time to pursue new opportunities in expectation of good things to come.