The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen (Matthew 4:16).
I vacilate between thinking that the United States is becoming a godless wasteland and thinking that, for all our faults, most of the U.S. is still a nation with the soul of a church. It sometimes seems to me as though there are two Americas that are on divergent paths. Just today, my wife commented to me that she didn't remember so many homosexual couples being featured on HGTV. We have become numb to the fact that we are surrounded by a decadent culture, and the signs of hope (e.g., values voters from one election cycle) are likely to disappoint.
I have to wonder sometimes whether I'm blinding myself to the horror by hiding in a small town where most people still have strong values. I can say that I am protecting my children from a dangerous world, but the influences still come in the form of cable TV and school reading lists. So we constantly have to monitor what they're watching and interrogate them (that's what it feels like) regarding their school friendships and classroom activities. We tried homeschooling, and came to the realization that we just couldn't do it anymore. I salute those who can.
The segments of the population who do not know God sit in darkness, and even many of those who do know God sit idly by while the darkness encroaches upon them. The shadow of death looms ever larger with the threatened passage of the Freedom of Choice Act and an almost filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. I hate to be partisan, but only one of the major parties supports a virtually unlimited "right" to abortion. I can take no comfort in the fact that my fellow Catholics are indistinguishable from the rest of the population with regard to how they vote, divorce, and abort their babies. After years of believing that the culture of death was slowly being eroded (at least with respect to surgical abortion) it appears that it could all be undone with the stroke of a pen.
The annual celebration of Christmas gives us a chance to see a great light. To experience an epiphany, revealing that God loves his human creatures to the point of becoming one of them. The annual March for Life is coming up in just a few short weeks, and I suspect that the pro-life movement will be energized to protect the lives of the innocent unborn. Voters in many states are still willing to defend traditional marriage and want to see it codified in law. There are reasons for hope.
But we must not be blind to the darkness.