Thursday, December 23, 2021
I write to you today as many of us continue our celebrations of this #HolidaySeason and the promises of a New Year. I do so from IPM’s headquarters in Cleveland, where the pandemic’s renewed spread is wreaking havoc on so many families who had hoped to gather-together around the table (often, for the first time in two years) to celebrate this season of #light and #renewal.
In my tradition, the season known as #Advent is a month-long reminder of the core values of our faith. A time to reaffirm our shared commitment to embody #hope, #peace, #joy, and #love in our own lives while offering those same gifts to the world. For our Jewish brothers & sisters who just commemorated #Hanukkah, for our many friends around the world who marked the #WinterSolstice earlier this week, and for those working to ensure the well-being of the world this #Kwanzaa, the call is similar: to bring light to times of darkness and love to a world that is broken & hurting.
For almost 48 years, #IPM has been doing just that! Your partnership with us—whether as a colleague, donor, Project Partner, student, &/or volunteer—makes everything we do possible. You are the light we need during the darkest days, the hope that sees us through, the joy we see on the faces of each & every woman, child, and community where the IPM Family continues to nurture and transform.
We live in extraordinary times. No matter our respective faith tradition &/or spiritual practice our response must be just extraordinary. A dear friend recently reminded me that: COVID, like so many other tragedies, draws us all towards the cliffs of angst and despair. Many cannot endure looking directly into the face of the fear, and harden themselves by turning away, denying, rejecting, and grasping at their ropes of nationalism and isolationism, not seeing that the rope is rotting and frayed and ever-so-loosely tethered. Even more of us live between the fear and the will to connect–paralyzed by the size and magnitude of the tragedy, not sure what to do to respond to the needs of the world and to our own internal duplicity. And then there are a few who walk into the fear, seeing it for the phantasm that it is, and call to the rest of us to join them in slaying the monster though love and connection, through having our hearts be open houses for each other, for the world – the few who set the place at the table for the rest of us, calling us home to our humanity.
Each of you “set the table” for the rest of us. You open your homes to others in the service of “love and connection”. Your humanity and sacrificial giving makes our mission possible. This Holiday Season, through the generosity of the Sheffler and Weber families, your gifts to IPM post-marked on or before December 31 will be matched up to $50,000. I trust that you will thoughtfully consider your response and remain profoundly grateful for your generosity.
But most importantly, I hope you will wake up this Christmas morning knowing that your consistent presence is the greatest gift of hope you can offer the IPM Family and that the Peace and Joy you bring to each day we have together is one of the greatest gifts you can offer the world in the coming New Year!
May the #light and #love of this Season be with you and all those whom you hold dear.