As Christmas approaches, UnitingWorld’s Cath Taylor considers the wonderful progress we’ve made as a global community and what you can do at Christmas to make an extraordinary impact in the lives of the disadvantaged.
Andy Williams is crooning about Christmas being “the most wonderful time of the year” as my trolley nicks a display of chocolate Santas and sends them sideways.
A five-year-old and I exchange looks as we rearrange them crookedly; me with a sense of how late I’m running for school pick up, she with a sense of profound reverence. And once again I’m reminded of how wonder—especially at Christmas—is increasingly the domain of the very young.
It’s a trait we associate with wide eyes and the ability to question, to see awe and mystery where others draw a blank.
And at Christmas? Well, what’s so wonderful about Christmas anyway? Mangoes are in season, yes, and family and friends abound. But what tangible difference has the coming of Christ made to this world over the past 2000 years?
Start with human flourishing. Not always, but often fuelled by the determination of followers of Jesus, here are some entirely wonderful things to mull over during Christmas lunch:
- In 1950, 75 per cent of the world lived and died in absolute poverty. Today, that number is 10 per cent and shrinking.
- In the world’s fastest growing Christian church—China—three new worshiping communities open every day.
- Up until 200 years ago, 85 per cent of people couldn’t read or write. Today? Less than 12 per cent.
- Polio has been eradicated and malaria is well on the way—both diseases once responsible for the suffering of millions.
Many of us have heard these good news stories before. But enthusiasm for their achievement is hard to sustain and our sense of wonder at our own progress is dulled. The greatest wonder of all, perhaps, is the fact that we absolutely have it within our grasp to reduce extreme poverty even further; to supply clean drinking water; to raze disease. We simply need the wide eyes and determination to continue what we’ve begun.
UnitingWorld invites you to get in on the act this Christmas by giving gifts from Everything in Common—ordinary things like goats, pigs and toilets—that have extraordinary impacts.
They build a world of hope and wholeness, and you can stoke your everyday sense of both wonder and determination by joining us. Follow the progress of your gift online by signing up to our e-news and reading about the extraordinary cracks of light leaking into this world, little by little, as God’s people reach for heaven’s ceiling.
Buy online at everythingincommon.com.au or call us 1800 998 122.