Hope. Joy. Peace. Love.
We talk about these four words a lot during the Christmas and Advent season. While they absolutely contribute to the warm, fuzzy, Christmas-movie feelings I love to have, they also read as a challenge. In the context of Christ’s birth and where we find ourselves as God’s people, it’s been helpful for me to remember just how radical these words really are.
DC127 exists because there are children spending this Christmas season (and the months after it) without a family or away from their home. We exist because there are parents struggling to keep their children out of foster care in the face of poverty, homelessness, and crisis. We exist because in the past two weeks alone, we’ve gotten calls from 6 single moms who are struggling to keep their children home – moms who love their children, but can’t do this alone.
When I think about the challenges facing these mothers, their children, and the children in DC’s foster care system, having hope, feeling joy and love, and being at peace is hard. Where do these four simple words fit in places of brokenness, systemic injustice, and so much pain?
This is when these words become radical, because they ask you to go against everything you see in front of you. We have to make an active choice to believe them. The Advent season is a reminder that Christ’s birth and the promise He brings is the reason for our hope, joy, peace, and love.
Maybe we should change it: Active Hope. Active Joy. Active Peace. Active Love.
Despite the pain and brokenness we see, perhaps:
Active hope is a call to action, believing things will change and staying discontent with the status quo.
Active joy is not letting despair win out, even when we feel stuck and without a path.
Active peace remembers that we serve a God bigger than the injustice we see.
Active love is doing the hard work of loving our neighbor despite differences, and carrying their burdens not in charity but in true relationship.
This isn’t always easy to remember, but as I think about the last year with DC127, I think about the many people in our network who demonstrate what it means to live out active hope, joy, love, and peace.
I think about the foster parents who stepped out not only to care for a child, but to love his mother and siblings as well. I think about the team who wrapped around a single mom of four, ensuring she had support and also bringing her into their church community and showing her the peace of Christ.
I think about the ways many of you have supported DC127’s families through babysitting, donating diapers, or bringing joy through a meal:
- the babysitter who spent the night at a foster home to give them some sleep,
- the Host Home who picked up a child late at night after a house fire,
- the couple who generously sent diapers, wipes, and clothes all across the city to support foster and host homes.
I think about each of you who have invested financially in DC127, and who have invested in the future hope of a city where no child waits for a home.
There are too many stories to list here. Thank you for the ways you’ve loved and shown peace to DC this year. I pray as you go through the Advent season you see the active hope, joy, love, and peace of Christ in your life.
DC127 Executive Director