So Far “Watchman, how much longer the night?” The watchman replies, “Morning has come, and again night.” – Isaiah 21:11–12 (NABRE) MARY LUTI | One summer, my parents loaded four kids under ten into a station wagon for a cross-country camping trip. What could go wrong? But it was uneventful. My moth- er was pondering this miracle as we neared home after weeks away. Our house was in sight when she sighed, “Just amazing. No flat tires, no dead kids, no lost wallets, no divorce. Nothing’s gone wrong.” My father replied, “So far.” I’m a pessimist, too. Some people object, “But you’re so joyful!” They think pessimism cancels joy. Nope. Something good happens, optimists are happy. But pessimists, who never anticipated much in the first place, are doubly happy. Something bad happens, op- timists are sometimes crushed. Not pessimists. We knew it all along. I’m not saying Jesus was a pessimist, but he kept his foot on the brake like pessimists do. (Disciple: Can’t wait till you’re on your throne, Teacher! Jesus: They’re going to kill me.) He knew life is usually unjust, so it’s good for our spirits and commitments to plan ac- cordingly. You accomplish more with less disappointment when you’re zeroed in on reality. Like many things people call “dark,” pessimism contains possibilities. “Morning has come!” the watchman cries. Optimistic spirits soar. But then he adds, “And again night.” In other words, all is well—so far. But you’ll soon be asking, “How long?” from the shadows again. You may escape calamity cross country and back, but it can still find you a block from home. A downer? Sure, but in a good way. It concentrates the mind. For Christians with a mis- sion, that can’t be bad. PRAYER Holy One, whether we’re optimists or pessimists, help us to be real. Concentrate our minds for your mission till night no longer follows day.

About the Writer:
MARY LUTI is a long-time seminary educator and the author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles on the practice of the Christian life.

Source: “What’s Left of the Night?” | 2022 Advent-Christmastide Devotional by the Stillspeaking Writers’ Group, made up of United Church of Christ ministers and writers who collaborate on resources for people in the church, outside the church, and not sure about the church.