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  • Writer's pictureDave Griffith

Courage

For the last ten seasons of Advent, I have written a message reflecting the four candles of Advent and their symbol of hope, peace, joy, and love. I did so as a person of faith and as the Executive Director and Head Coach of Episcopal Community Services in Philadelphia.

Now, in semi-retirement and having time for reflection, I reread all the posts. In general, I called for the call of the four candles to be made real by my readers. To receive and give hope, peace, joy, and love, not just in Advent but year-round. I realized I had missed a fundamental attribute and call to action as I read.

That fundamental attribute is courage.

The courage to not just talk but to do. The courage to give your time, treasure, and talent without expecting a personal return. The courage to go into the field and witness and meet firsthand the scourge of poverty, inequity, hate, greed, and empty words and intentions. The courage to be honest about the challenge and not acquiesce to self-greed, the rhetoric, and the politics of self-interest. The courage to believe and practice the theology of abundance. The courage to be both successful and charitable. The courage to recognize that a check is a start but not enough. The political will to change public policy, create living wage jobs, defend freedom, create a safe environment, think long term, and put Grandchildren over greed is a fundamental requirement from now on. Ultimately, change is driven by the courage to create equitable opportunities for all.

Yet, why do we accept the status quo?

I do not doubt that courage is required to make the four candles of peace, love, joy, and hope real. I have seen it firsthand for the last ten years. 2024 will be a critical year. In a world growing in violence both at home and abroad, in a country unable to reach political consensus, democracy at risk, growing gun violence, poverty, and inequity, and a ticking environmental time bomb, the time for individual leadership and courage is here.  

Look at the factual data. It is not like we have a choice. The courage to drive equitable change will have to come from everyone. It will be the men and women in the arena who will make the difference. Here, we must look for leadership and the willingness to accept the discomfort of real change.

In this season of Advent, I pray we will have the courage to get into the arena and become an active force for peace, love, joy, and hope.

Courage.

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