| by Ruwantissa Abeyratne

( December 24, 2014, Montreal, Sri Lanka Guardian) Someone once wondered why in every manger displayed at Christmas there was a light on while the rest of Bethlehem was in pitch darkness. Christmas reminds me of when the three wise men followed a shining star that took them to the new born. Christmas is the story of light, as is Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, and of giving, which started last Tuesday and will go on for 8 days. So is Deepavali, the festival of lights for the Hindus.

Life is an illusion - of gentle faces in cracking mirrors- their images clouded by too many tears. Somewhere, a little girl wins a prize for peace in an year that has been terrible for violence and massacre; for disasters both here and in the heavens.
Light is life. Light is hope that we have against darkness; against the evil and danger that lurks in the dark. Would the Christmas of light come to us, wherever we may be?

Once upon a time, in the lonely darkness of the mountain lived a little girl with her family, fearful of the secrets of the night which brought invaders who purveyed evil. They were hiding from evil, with no food and shelter. The cold winter chill was gnawing at their emaciated bodies and bones. That night they came and took her away, far beyond this earth. The snow was falling in thick flakes around her and the wind was howling, stopping every now and then as if to catch its breath. She felt lonely and sad. Some distance away, as if suspended in the sky was this white dove who invited the little girl on his back.

The dove rose
towards plumes of white cloud
searching the heavens
for children of God
On his way they met a child
his face in smiles and eyes so wild
a mix of sadness and of joy
was stamped on the countenance of the boy
"Are you God's child?" inquired the dove
"I am the child of eternal love"
"Pray why is'nt there peace on Earth?"
they inquired with no mirth
"your world does not want peace, dove
nor do they want eternal love
the boundaries you have striven to make
do not admit of give and take
and only those who do suffer
from war and strife would prefer
that peace prevails for all mankind

The dove took the little girl far away from the darkness of the night, into the light. The next morning the little girl was found dead at the foot of the mountain, ravaged by the evil visitation of the night.

The purity of Christmas gives us solace from a world of inequity, corruption and evil. The symbolism of Christmas, particularly in its original setting, brings to bear the real significance of the event as a harbinger of peace and happiness and the heralding of understanding and compassion particularly of those in power toward their fellow beings. Christmas is a time for introspection; of self examination for self worth. It is a time that all of us should demonstrably show our r capacity to shed differences and work toward the common human goal of peace. The Christmas season calls us to nurture our boundless spirit of giving, particularly to those in distress. When it comes to giving, we must not distinguish between our own people who are thrown out of a building which is destroyed by an explosion, and those in Macau who are rendered homeless by a mudslide. This quality is a great consolation and blessing to humanity which carries the message that we do not, and indeed should not shut our doors to those who genuinely need our help.

Life is an illusion - of gentle faces in cracking mirrors- their images clouded by too many tears. Somewhere, a little girl wins a prize for peace in an year that has been terrible for violence and massacre; for disasters both here and in the heavens. Children have been killed; abducted; abused. Some have just disappeared. Let darkness not keep their secrets hidden and safe. Let us hope the child of eternal love will keep a light on for them at Christmas when they finally come home.


ARCHIVES FROM AUGUST 2007 TO JANUARY 2015