“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” ~ H. Jackson Brown Jr.
It’s hard to believe the Advent and Christmas seasons have come and gone, speeding by as we begin 2017. This Advent season was a time of waiting, which often proves difficult in our busy, fast-paced lives. I think waiting is especially tough, and at times frustrating, when dealing with peace and justice issues. How I wish systemic changes and improvements would occur overnight!
I often feel that there just isn’t enough time to focus on all of the injustices constantly occurring. Looking back over 2016, there seemed to be many places and times void of peace. We were discouraged and heartbroken again and again over countless incidents and tragedies such as:
- The scenes and continued tragedy in Syria as well as other war-torn countries;
- A combative and divisive election;
- Violent incidents worldwide including bombings and shootings;
- Wildfires, floods, and hurricanes; and
- The devastating stories of the global refugee crisis.
Yet, as the New Year begins, it’s important to rejoice over the triumphs of 2016 as we look to make even more progress in 2017. Some positive highlights from the past year include:
- The Paris Climate Agreement which went into effect;
- The canonization of Mother Teresa by Pope Francis;
- The suspended construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline;
- The strides made toward outlawing honor killings in Pakistan;
- The ban on drilling in portions of the Atlantic and Arctic by President Obama;
- The fact that the death penalty has continued to decline in the United States; and
- The more than 800,000 volunteers in India who planted 50 million trees in one day.
Well equipped with Pope Francis’ World Day of Peace theme: “Nonviolence: A style of politics for peace,” we can work together to overcome injustices and continue to preach truth and peace with hope in God’s promise for our future. Change won’t happen overnight, but we can take steps forward, together. After all, we now have 362 days ahead of us in 2017 to make the world a better place, and that’s plenty of time to work toward peace!