We are beginning the new year during very perilous times for children and for our nation and world, but in the face of overwhelming challenges and threats to safety and well-being, this is also a new chance to fight back against depression, fear and despair and determine to keep pushing forward. I share again an adapted version of Madeleine L’Engle’s poem “First Coming” (used by permission in my book “Guide My Feet” as published in “Imagining the Word”):
God did not wait till the world was ready,
till … nations were at peace.
God came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.
God did not wait for the perfect time.
God came when the need was deep and great.
God dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine.
God did not wait till hearts were pure.
In joy God came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
God came, and God’s Light would not go out.
God came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.
We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
God came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!
These words are once again a reminder and encouragement for all we must and will do in the new year. As the holy season comes to a close and the time for new beginnings emerges, let’s commit to moving forward together with purpose, determination and hope.
Edelman is founder and president emerita of Children’s Defense Fund.