As a child, I loved to hear this sentence! It meant that my family would soon be reunited. We wo uld have delicious meals and above all, lots of presents! As an adult, I also like this sentence, and I do have an incredibly long "to-do-list" for this festive period.
Today, in France, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are uncertain if we will be able to gather indoors with the extended family to celebrate Christmas. All the plans for big meals and presents seem useless and selfish. We may have to review our priorities to celebrate Christmas in light of what we have learned during this time of lockdown to control the spread of the COVID-19.
Christmas is coming, as well as World Day of Prayer on March 5th 2021. “Build on a strong Foundation” is the 2021 theme written by Christian women in Vanuatu. We listen to women’s voices through the worship service, which invites us to focus on the Bible story in Matthew 7:24-27. Jesus tells a story about the kingdom of heaven using the image of a house and the land on which the house is built.
In Jesus’ story, the wisdom of the builder of the house comes from hearing and acting on the word of God, which is a word of love. This is the foundation on which our sisters in Vanuatu call us to build our homes, our nations and the world. A call of faith to be earnestly considered when responding to the prayer of commitment: “What is the house that you would build?”
Today, I know that what is essential and unique in each Christmas celebration is the human connection. Christmas could be an opportunity to say to my family and all my friends how much I love them. This is much more important than the gift I was running to get for each one of them.
The Christmas celebration is unique as well as World Day of Prayer. Every year it happens as a great gift. In the midst of the pandemic, it is like an opportunity to give the best of ourselves to the common good. In the face of the millions we have lost, who will be greatly missed in the family reunion, we commit to making Christmas an opportunity for transformation.
We are reminded by the women of Vanuatu that nothing prevents us from having our trust in God. I invite you to listen to the words of the angel to Mary, “Rejoice! The Lord has granted you a great favor. God is with you!” (Luke 1,28) Isn’t it the greatest of all promises?
Let us therefore celebrate Christmas affirming the foundation of the Gospel, which is God's love for the world. Friends of the WDP, feel blessed!
Laurence Gangloff, WDPIC Chairperson