The day I am writing this is the day of the runoff election for the Georgia Senate. It has been a long, grueling election for us in Georgia. I am thankful for today because hopefully, we will get a reprieve from campaign ads. I voted today, and when I got to my polling site a group of young men walked up and said they were “poll monitors.” They introduced themselves to the poll workers, who had no idea who they were. They had official jackets from their organization and stood outside the gate leading into the elementary school gym. They didn’t say anything to anyone, they just stood there.
I don’t know where they were from, but it seemed to me that their presence there was meant to intimidate. They are free to stand where they want, and so they did. For me, it was a sad dose of reality, about where we are as a nation and a state, and in our discourse laced with discord. What drove these three young men to stand outside of a polling place, in the rain, and quietly intimidate people showing up to vote? It has nothing to do with “election integrity,” it has everything to do with fear.
Part of the Christmas story that I often forget about because I’m surrounded by twinkling lights and hallmark movies, is that Jesus is born into a fearful world. An occupying force is searching for and murdering baby boys because one of them might be a threat to their power. The child’s parents, as soon as the child is born, have to flee their country as refugees. It is a cold, fearful world.
I am hopeful that by the time you read this, our political discord has quieted down a little bit, but I know we still have a long way to go from distrust and anger that have marked our national conversation. But I am also hopeful to experience the brilliance of the Incarnation this season. The light of the world breaking into the cold and fearful world, and because of Jesus, new life is coming.