CHRISTMAS WITHOUT LIGHTS AND HEATING

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” —John 1:4-5

Christmas comes this year with less lights and less fuel. We celebrate Christmas with new challenges, not COVID this time, but no fuel for heating, less lights around the world. The fuel crisis has changed perceptions about light. Incentives to save energy are multiplying. Many countries which are known for their Christmas decorations and lights have decided that they have to turn out lights on the streets to survive the fuel crisis. Christmas is celebrated in darkness this year.

Light Is a wonderful picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the light that came to the world. What we are experiencing around the world today of wars, aggression, competition, economic greediness is all linked to the fact that people did not perceive the light, but because of their evil deeds, they loved darkness instead of light as John states clearly: “Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

To value the light, we are invited this year to understand how difficult it is to live in darkness; how difficult it is to see the streets with less lights and worry about heating and how people will face the coming winter; how people in different parts of the world will face their daily needs and protect their human dignity as basic living needs are challenged.

Unfortunately, there are many people around the world who live continually in such situations. The issue is that this year our eyes are opened to see their struggle. The poor around us do not have the luxury of lights or heated homes. Their continual worry about dignified life is their daily challenge. We recognize that they have always been there, but we could not understand their struggle. Now we go through similar situations that open our eyes to the darkness they are in. All of a sudden, we dwell among them; we pitch our tent in their midst. We discover their humiliation and their need for abundant life.

This year we have a Christmas with less lights but deeper understanding. We discover that in Jesus’ incarnation, God decided to send his son to dwell among us; to be born in our world; to be cold and even homeless; He came as a poor with struggling parents. At Christmas, the baby of the manger teaches us the value of Immanuel, God is in our struggle. Jesus invites us to have the courage to journey with all who face injustice.

To see the light of Jesus and to be the light of Jesus is to have the courage to step in difficult situations. The light exposes darkness and shatters it. To be the light to the world is to share our homes; to recognize the struggles around us, starting from our neighbor to the many people who died recently, whether in Kinshasa, Congo, last week out of floods; or who are dying daily out of poverty in Africa; or those who were forced to leave their country and culture just because they their basic human needs are not met. To all those who face racial discrimination; to people who are continually living in war situation whether in Odessa, Ukraine, last week; or Jana, a 16-year-old was found dead on the roof of her house in Jenin by the army as she was fetching her cat; or the poor who are growing around us in Lebanon due to economic war.

Darkness is all around and we are called to celebrate Christmas.

Probably this year we understand the need for light; the need to get out of our safety zones and try to be with someone less fortunate, a person who is worried about the future. We are invited this year to be with others and to dwell among all those who are in pain. As a Communion we are called to journey with the struggling, to be Christ’s light for them—to be a Communion of hope who dares to stand where God stands.

God dwelt among us so we dwell among all those who are suffering.

Have a blessed Christmas! Share the light of Christ!

—President Najla Kassab

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