Reflection on Advent
There’s a saying that says that a healthy man has many wishes, but a sick man has only one.
It seems that today the entire world has only one wish – for the pandemic to end and for everything to return to normal. Whatever that normal is. Normal is a relative thing. Many wish things would return to their normal, but there are those who would love to change their previous normal, because it included poverty, discrimination, violence, slavery, oppression, loneliness, hunger, lack of water and medical care, homelessness, unemployment, and unfortunately, the list goes on.
I want to remind us of a group of people that sticks out and ‘unnecessarily’ burdens the consciousness of the modern world, which has, fortunately for some, due to the pandemic, ‘objectively’ fallen into the background, because now we have to deal with problems that affect us personally – the people I’m talking about are migrants and refugees.
They haven’t been erased by the pandemic. They are still here, but on the list of ‘new normal’ they have fallen even lower. Low enough for us not to have to think about them, let alone do something, because we need to be saving our own lives.
However, once a year, we come to the time of Advent. A time of waiting. A time when we are overwhelmed by excitement to be closer to Christmas. In that time, we briefly forget our worries, not so that we can focus more on the person responsible for the holiday, on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. But to focus on the wonderful season of shopping, family and friends gathering, good food, all wrapped up in a lot of light, under the sponsorship of religion, to satisfy the form. Because form is important. It’s what’s visible on the outside. The other thing, the important thing, isn’t visible. So, it becomes less important.
According to statistics, most of refugees and migrants in our region are Muslim. As is politically correct to say, we respect their religion and their life that doesn’t include Christmas joy. That gives us more reason not to think about them in these days.
It is interesting how our faith, according to the Holy book, says that the true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. We believe that Christ came to give light to every human being. We forget that when he came, there weren’t any Christians who greeted him. What is more, Christ’s first human experience was poverty, homelessness, discrimination, hostility and exile. In the eyes of the emperor, Jesus was a potential terrorist who wanted to tear down the system and legally elected government, and he had to be stopped at all cost. The Holy book says that that price was paid by a certain number of innocent male children under the age of 2. That is allegedly how terrorism is dealt with today, as well.
To step away from politics and get back to the Holy book. Christ wants to meet and bring light to every human being. Fortunately, he found us. What about others? Christ wants to meet those others today. He counts on us for that. We are those through whom Christ wants to meet other people, all people. That includes migrants and refugees. Jesus can’t meet them if we don’t meet them, and share with them our lives and resources. They maybe don’t believe in Jesus in the way we do, but they can meet him if we are ready to walk with them on their path and in their needs.
On her blog, Dr. Ksenija Magda writes: “This time could be called a time when God stole Christmas. As some kind of Grinch, he put a lockdown on the world, and it’s not clear when he will cancel it, and whether it will be done by Christmas. If we’re honest, we see that God only took away that Christmas, which we ourselves created, with all activities, parties, gatherings, drinking, eating, wearing fancy clothes. He hasn’t, of course, taken the Christmas of coming and bringing internal light into the dark night of uncertainty, violence and injustice of the world. Maybe this lockdown is a good opportunity for me to calm down, to hear the voice of the heart again, to recognize what is important, so that my heart can jump filled with hope growing inside. This is the first Advent that I’m experiencing peacefully. At home.”
Maybe it was necessary for us to stay by ourselves, locked down, so that we could become more aware of other people, different people, who are waiting for something that will change their lives. But they’re not at home with their families. We can pray for them, but we also have the opportunity to help. Meet them, understand them, give them food, clothes. Those are some of the things we can do. Maybe in time, their lives become different, better. Maybe the Advent becomes a time when we wait for Christ - together.
I wish you all a blessed Christmas and a happy new year.
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