The sun is low in the sky and the night-time gloom is deeper as the earth finishes its northern tilt away from the Sun. The light is golden and lovely when it shines through. It shines upon all of us no matter what wisdom tradition we are shaped by. It shines on us in whatever complicated combination of happy, sad, overjoyed, despairing and hopeful we feel.

I was reflecting on the Christian tradition the other day with an Indigenous Elder. She asked why some Christians seem to think the Creator only cares for Christians.

I said that some Christians believe that Jesus is a limited, exclusive offer of love from God. If you become Christian then God’s love can flow to you. You have accepted the exclusive offer. If you aren’t Christian then God’s love can’t get to you. They thus reduce salvation to being of part of an exclusive in-group.

Other Christians believe that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection reflects the very character of God. Because God joins with human beings in our joys and pain, beginning with those most vulnerable in the world, God’s love is for everyone. God is wiling to risk everything to connect with us and to connect us to ourselves and each other and the earth.

“Which one do you believe?”, she asked.

“The second,” I said.

When the sun shines on us on a cold day it warms our faces. It offers hope of warmer and brighter days ahead. The warmth I feel is not lessened by the fact that it warms another. In Christian terms, God’s love is infinite. Therefore the love others may need from God does not limit what God might give me. We are not in competition for a scarce resource, but grateful recipients of meaning and love from the Divine.

Of course, there are many groups that want to create exclusive in-groups with member-only benefits. I have met people from every wisdom tradition that feel this way. It is part of the human experience to identify our group and our tradition with the very essence of goodness, meaning, and light. I have felt that way in my own life.

But then something happened in my life, slowly, irrevocably. If the Divine is not for everyone, then it can’t be for all of my complicated self. If it encompasses all of me, then it must, it must, be for all and be enough for all. And more than enough.

Each day now will gain light. The gloom of this part of our year will be slowly replaced by seconds, minutes, and then hours of light.

As that light shines on your face, remember that it shines on all the human family. The Divine, which our words, images and concepts fail to express, shines upon all our siblings.

Let us rejoice that it does. May we remember that when we see each other’s faces, warmed.

Photo by Bailey Zindel on Unsplash