Sunday, December 26, 2010

O Come Emmanuel!

"O Come Emmanuel" Video
These last few days, my daughter and I have watched an eclectic assortment of movies.  We started with Crash, since the library called to say my turn had finally come.  Then we enjoyed a Christmas Day viewing of The most excellent King's Speech, which reminded me of the other British historical movie, Amazing Grace, which I own, so we had to end the day watching that!  Tonight's pasttime was watching the newly released Darfur, most sobering of all.

As I reflected on what we'd seen, there was the common thread of horrid things that we human beings do to each other.  From the relatively harmless torture inflicted on a stutterer, to the senseless genocide taking place around our planet, even as I celebrate this Season of "Peace on Earth".  After seeing Darfur, I want to hate those who are attacking the African Sudanese people.  And, I want to be indignant at those who built their economy on slave labour.  Even worse, I want to imagine that somehow I am better or at least more tolerant, as a good Canadian should be.

I'm really glad I suffered through the sobering darkness of Crash first of all.  You see, the resounding message I heard was that none of us are above racism and intolerance.  So, along with captive, downtrodden, broken people all over the world, I join in crying, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel!" to set ALL His people free.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

No Frame of Reference!

Recently I realized I'd make a really, really lousy refugee!  I was privileged to participate in 4 days of  leader's meetings.  The food was incredible, the time away from my normal routine was refreshing, the worship was inspiring, the new friends were intriguing and I learned a LOT. However, I was very, very frustrated, at least initially.

I came with no frame of reference for the work we were trying to do together. You see, we were wrestling through a restructuring of how we would connect with each other and our organizations. I had no clue what had been, I hardly had a clue which organizations there were and how they worked! And, over-achiever that I am, I wasn’t content to while away all those hours checking Facebook on my Blackberry:)

After Day 2, I went home and had a good talk with God, asking for an attitude adjustment, and some help in finding my way into the conversation that was taking place. That was the turning point for me, and hopefully allowed me to make a meaningful contribution.

This week we took our friends from Welcome Home to Waterloo Park to see the Christmas lights- sharing some of our "Christmas spirit". It was during my attempt to help them value the beauty of the coloured lights, to recognize some of the characters in the displays, and understand why Canadians would decorate their park this way and why we would go see it- when it’s so COLD outside- that I realized that they didn’t have a frame of reference either!

Afterwards we warmed up over tasty treats and hot chocolate in a Canadian home beautifully decked out for the season. As we sat around munching, a Sudanese friend told us how “in my country, we sit down and have the food brought to us”. You see, we’d had a table loaded with goodies that they could choose from, and most of the group had stood there, awkwardly not knowing what to do. Ahhh!

I continue to pray for the ability to look at things through the lens of a newcomer, while helping my new friends understand enough to at least have the option to adapt to Canadian ways. One of my favourite verses lately is “With your help I can run through a barricade, with my God I can leap over a wall!” (2 Sam 22:30) How will we present the birth and deity of Jesus so that EVERY one at Welcome Home can receive this gift, no matter what their frame of reference? That is a God-sized miracle that we are praying for- please join us!