Well, here we are, arrived, by popular calculation, at the far end of the millennial year, the transition to a new century and a new era. Weve come out on the other side of Y2-K worries, fears of global disturbances and predictions of cyber-chaos.
With this Christmas issue, we return to the celebration of the event from which all of this is calibrated, that overwhelmingly ordinary moment that pushes outward in the most extraordinary ways. In the end, it is the most ordinary, completely human moments that can move us in the deepest sense.
We might at times yearn for the cosmic jolt that will change everything, but we land, inevitably, amid the details of life, the friends, families, jobs, causes, irritants, joys, despairs and hopes.
I take some consolation from that Bethlehem event of so long ago when the story of Jesus breaks into our history on our own terms; it is a commitment to our experience and its twin demons of time and change, as Eugene Kennedy wrote in The Choice to be Human, a volume of personal reflections. The fire and light of the Spirit do not glow steadily in the closed vacuum of eternity; they rise and fall in a swaying lantern that hangs on a rib of time itself.
Jesus is not a person out of time, a hero cleansed of his Jewishness, a blond WASP rising out of Nazareth. He is a Jew, a man in time and place and relationship, not a stranger but a friend. ... He is one of us, more like us than different; that is the whole point of it.
Indeed it is.
Our hope here is that the pages of NCR during the past year have held the contemporary evidence of that reality. Our pages include the often-contentious news of the institutional church, of those Catholics, like the Pittsburgh educators in the report, whose work in the church these days can be affected by bizarre dictates. But they also contain the wonderful stories of people, some of high profile, others fairly unknown, living extraordinary lives in service of the gospel. Real people, in time and place and relationships. Friends.
We thank you, all of you, for providing the material from which we fashion what I really believe is a chronicle of hope in difficult times.
And we thank you, wonderful readers, who week after week gather around the issues and the people we write about. We hope we have provided a place that not only informs, stimulates and even amuses, but one where friends, perhaps weary from the work, can come to be renewed.
With the rest of the staff at NCR, I wish you a blessed Christmas and a happy New Year.
-- Tom Roberts
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
National Catholic Reporter, December 22, 2000