Readings: Psalm 126, Isaiah 35:3-7, Luke 7:18-20

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,

we were like those who dream.

Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongues with shouts of joy;

then it was said among the nations,

“The Lord has done great things for them.”

The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.

Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb.

May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.

Those who go out weeping, bearing the seeds for sowing,

shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves. Psalm 126

Some of us dream of winning the lottery. We spend even our grocery money to have a chance at something we have virtually no chance to win. Some of us dream of fame. We shut our eyes to the desperation and addictions of so many who already have it.

Such things aren’t really dreams. They are fantasies, small and limited to our personal lives. While they might bring momentary pleasure, they can exact a toll on the soul that makes life smaller and darker. They cannot bring laughter and joy.

Dreams that bring laughter and shouts of joy don’t come true at the expense of others, but through our own sacrifice. They feed the soul. That’s what makes this psalm revolutionary. We ask the Lord to restore our fortunes, not help us take someone else’s; we reap what we have sown, not someone else’s harvest. We are good enough neighbors with everyone around us that our good fortune brings a smile, not a curse.

What are our dreams for this great, big, holy earth and all that live here? For our children’s children? For stranger and neighbor? I hope we dare to dream dreams together, doing what we can to make them come true.

If we are especially bold, I hope we ask ourselves one more question: what are God’s dreams for us? We can’t know the mind of God, but we do know what a holy dream walking among us looks like: Christmas.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

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I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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