It was the priest’s parting comment on the explanation of Christingles that set my thoughts aflame this morning.
“And one puts the lit Christingle in the window to light the way for weary travellers so that they can follow the light and find refuge.”
Refuge. Much is being said about refugees at the moment. This includes comments about the Holy Family being Middle Eastern refugees turned away at the inn.
Of course, the Syrian refugees in the news aren’t coming to South Africa. They’re heading north. We have enough of our own. Refugees from Pakistan and Bangladesh. Refugees from Africa. Refugees from Somalia, from Nigeria, from the Congo, refugees from Mocambique and refugees from Zimbabwe.
South Africa has its own xenophobic violence, its own xenophobic red tape.
If I lit my Christingle candle and put it in the window, would it really serve to advertise a safe haven for the weary traveller? Could I make room in my home for a mother, father and baby? Would I make room?
“In as much as you have done it for the least of these …” Christ’s own words.
The Christingles were only for the children this morning, but the priest took one and handed it to me at the end of the service. I was a visitor there. He handed me a personal challenge.
My Christingle will remain unlit, challenging me to light it only when I am willing to uproot my life to take in a family of strangers and give them the same hospitality that I would offer to Christ Jesus and the Holy Family.
Thank you, Father Douglas of St Michael and All Angels Anglican Church in Weltevreden Park, for speaking the message of the Holy Spirit into my life. The orange may go bad before I can exhibit the fruits of the Holy Spirit in the four corners of my life in that way, but I will not be able to say that He did not issue a challenge to me this holy season.