Saturday, December 26, 2009

Lighting the Christ Candle.

During my time in Bangladesh and India I saw a lot of the brokenness of our world. Mothers with small children camped out on the sidewalk, living on the streets; children wandering through cars stuck in traffic, standing at their windows begging; skin and bones bicycle rickshaw drivers toiling in the heat to earn money to feed their families…

But I saw much more than that. On the 3rd last day of my time in Dhaka I went to visit a CRWRC project working in the slums. We were dropped off on the side of the road and entered a narrow alleyway, with shacks crowding along the sides. This particular slum grew along the railway tracks and we had to walk up the tracks a ways in order to enter the site we were to visit. We climbed down a few steps and entered a small room filled with talking and laughing girls. The room was buzzing with energy! This was the Tara adolescent group. Tara means star. And they were shining.

They presented some of the skits and songs they had composed as a group. At every meeting they are taught lessons on health and cleanliness, that girls should be allowed to go to school just like their brothers, on HIV/AIDS, child labour, human trafficking and other relevant issues. The girls decided to turn each lesson into a skit/song so that they could share the things they were learning with their families, friends and neighbours. I mean it when I said they were shining! I wish you all could have sat in that room with me because it was oozing with life! It was such a contrast  to the images I had seen earlier. Poor Sanjay, the translator, he had to keep telling the girls to slow down and take turns because he couldn’t keep up with the translation.

What does this have to do with today’s advent candle?

CRWRC is working to share the good news of Christ through living out the gospel truths. And in that room in the middle of that slum I could see the hope, joy, love and peace of Christ spilling over.

These girls face daily challenges and struggles that we won’t ever be able to fully understand but in this group they are learning they can hope.

In a community where many people give up and are crushed by the weight of poverty, I saw joy.

In a culture where women are considered less than men and of no value, I saw these girls believing that they are worthy of respect and love.

And it is my prayer that one day they will know the peace that comes from the giver of all these things: Christ.

So we light this candle today to remember Christ, the source of our hope, our joy, our love and our peace.

We light this candle to celebrate that for those who call Christ Lord & Saviour, the search is over. We don’t have to wander anymore.

We light this candle to remember those who are still on the journey, searching for hope, joy, love and peace.


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