Tuesday, December 18, 2007

From Zimbabwe

The message which follows came from someone I would prefer not to name for his own safety. Just take it that he is someone who risks his life in order to speak out. To me, his message of love in the midst of suffering is the true message of Christmas.
God bless,
Sr. Janet

When a child is born you wish the little one all the best: the journey through life is hazardous. Even the most loving parents cannot protect it from war and violence, from disease and catastrophe. This world is beset by evil and full of hatred.

The Child born in Bethlehem was to meet evil and hatred head-on. Precisely because he was utterly good and loving he would be hated by the proud and arrogant whom he would challenge. Precisely because he would make the love of God present in this world the forces of evil would rally against him, and in his life and in his very person clash with God’s goodness. He narrowly escaped the massacre of the innocent children of Bethlehem - for the moment. The forces of evil would eventually catch up with him in Jerusalem. They would destroy him physically, but his love would triumph over their hatred.

Zimbabwe has become a DANGER ZONE. Its leaders are driven by hatred for their enemies, not by love for their own people. Hatred is a destructive force. It does not build anything, it only tears down and demolishes. The potholes on the roads, dead traffic lights, power and water cuts, patients left without treatment, empty shelves and empty stomachs, empty spaces where Murambatsvina demolished homes, witness to this. Fear of police brutality and torture is all-pervasive and ever-present.

Christ showed up the irrationality of hatred. That is why he did not meet hatred with hatred, releasing a lethal virus and starting a doubly destructive pandemic. He saw the humanity even of his opponents, though damaged by sin, and restored it by reaching out to them, in other words by love.

Our ears are ringing with the din of hate speech, and yet love is not dead. There are people caring for HIV positive babies, and others resisting torture and healing the tortured, there are thousands toiling away in foreign lands for their destitute loved ones at home, there are some left speaking the truth in the midst of lies and deceit.

Hatred shouts and screams, love is quiet and inconspicuous. But the outcome is certain: love will overcome. Perhaps not fully in our lifetime, nevertheless love will overcome. That is the message of Christmas, of Christ, of this Child, vulnerable and yet unconquerable.