How recent a phenomenon is it that we define people by what they are against rather than what they are for? Looking at the fall-out of Mr Trump's election which is just another symptom of something that is defining the age. We have increasingly long lists of what we are against from migrants to shared defense, from national projects to climate protocols. Probably this has been going on forever and in some cases understandably but it seems what we stand against is our rallying call.
If we define our beliefs and our politics by what we are against rather than what we are for then we are defined by our fears.
In Advent it works the other way around for people of faith and we are defined by our optimism, by the big inclusive vision where the walkers in darkness see a light; where the mother of incarnation dreams of a rebalanced and just world, where the prophet sees a whole new world in a baby to be born. None of these are defined by fear.
So the more leaders talk of what we are against, the more frightened we are of those we are against. One day, we'll talk with holy optimism, sacred vision, and generosity to all. Until then, Christ will always find it difficult to find any room in which to be born.