While I am a relatively light sleeper, I’m not much of a dreamer. I confess to sometimes envying those whose vividly recalled details make dreaming seem exciting.
Dreaming is a natural state of mind for the human race. Not every dream is conjured up in the dead of night. Dreaming is a necessary way for all of us to imagine the future and can even motivate us to make those dreams a reality.
Dreaming in Exile
History is filled with stories of nations and people whose circumstances prompted them to lose hope and despair. Our own nation’s history includes these times of disorientation and even depression.
When the children of Israel in ancient Jewish history were exiled in Babylon, they faced a national crisis that threatened their identity and faith. Imagine having your land invaded, your temple destroyed, your possessions looted, your leaders captured, and a sizable number of your citizens hauled away as captive slaves.
Yet, in the midst of their desperate circumstances the people are cited as dreaming about returning home.
Dreaming in Our Time
Today’s leaders seem more willing to name what is wrong with our world than invite us to engage in dreaming about what could be. Business leaders can easily become distracted with the latest drop in stock price or the newest competitor in the marketplace. When energy is only focused on the present state of affairs, it is unlikely to rally anyone to seek innovation or improvement.
Dreaming is what we do in the Advent season.
Dreams about a new world shouldn’t begin with what is wrong but rather focus on what is working. How can we leverage the collective ideas, energy, and spirit of employees and communities? What can we do in our own neighborhoods, schools, and faith communities to make the world a better place? How can we imagine healthier residents, safer streets, and better opportunities for all?
Remembering who we are and who we belong to is a powerful image for us to embrace during this Advent season. There is a Higher Power whose love and grace can kick-start our dreaming again.
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