Christmas in Haiti

Christmas will soon be upon us. The year ends in a flurry of shopping, even during stressful economic times. Advent helps us see the need to pause and contemplate the deep and magnificent meaning of the Incarnation: that God, in a supreme act of Self-emptying love, became poor for us, entering fully into our flawed humanity in order that we could have the chance to enter more fully into God’s perfect divinity The primary motivation for God’s incarnation is God’s goodness, not human sinfulness. The Incarnation is a dynamic expression of God’s overflowing love and mercy, as well as a revelation of God’s poverty and humility. Through the Incarnation we find redemption and completion, making it the heart of all reality. Christmas is a time for us to see more clearly our own poverty and weakness in order to better receive the gift of God’s transforming love. Christmas is a time for us to emulate, as best we can, God’s love and goodness by sharing the mercy and compassion we have experienced through our lived experience of Christ’s birth in the stable of our humble hearts.

I will be spending Christmas in Haiti, living in the same slum I have previously written about in this blog. I leave tomorrow, Sunday, December 19th, and will be in Haiti for nine days. While there I will not have access to electricity (or running water) and so will be unable to post any blogs. If time permits, I might write a few in advance and have them automatically posted. These are tense times in Haiti following a week of civil unrest and violent protests in response to the presidential election which many poor Haitians believe was rigged. Moreover, the death toll from the cholera epidemic has passed the 2,000 mark, with bodies rotting in the streets of Port-au-Prince. We are less than a month away from the first anniversary of the earthquake, and the suffering poor of Haiti, a million of whom are still living in tents, need our prayers and tangible signs of our concern and love. I anticipate that the joy of Christmas ring out among these beautiful people of faith.

I hope you have a joyful celebration of the Incarnation of God, and that in the coming year you are able to incarnate God’s love, mercy and compassion in your families, communities, and with the countless people around the world living in severe poverty who desperately need to feel the warmth of God’s embrace and the strength of God’s support.

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