Tonight I spoke at a church full of teens and their parents. It was a beautiful service where each one of the teens lit a candle and lined the four walls of the old building. It was dark inside and outside. When I looked at the many 14 and 15-year olds I thought: May you all be lights in this world. Let your light shine where darkness rules.
I got to talk to them about Burma and the Rohingya people. I told them about the Little Matchstick Girl and compared her to the seven-year-old Fatimah who died in her mother’s arms two weeks ago. She died because she did not have anything to eat. She died hungry,thirsty—a refugee in her own country, Burma. She died knowing her people was not loved, but not knowing why everybody seems to want her and her people dead. Like the Little Matchstick Girl she had asked for so little: Just some food and some clean water. But there was nobody there to give it to her. When her mother finally met our team from Partners Fatimah had no more strength to live.
I have found that during this time—advent we call it in Norway, people don’t really want to be bothered with that which is uncomfortable. Many, me included, want this to be a time filled of coziness and warmth. Let the air have the fragrance of apple cider and candles burning, let us listen to Christmas carols sung by pop-stars, and Handel’s Messiah if we are of the classy type. But, please, don’t bother us with pictures of starving children. That gets very uncomfortable. It messes with the nice feeling of Christmas.
This is what I told the teens and their parents: To make this time of the year a cozy time of traditions and family time, of cookie making and fellowship is not wrong. What is wrong is that not all the children in the world get a chance to do just that. That is what I want you to help me change. Each child in the world has the same value as each one of you. Each person is important. Each person matters. So, let’s all try to make sure that they know that and get to experience that they are loved and not forgotten. That is my Christmas wish.
Perhaps, if you read this, you can also make that part of your commitment for this season. It should be every child’s right to experience the best values of Christmas: Peace, fellowship with people we love, good food, warmth—in our hearts and our bodies, the feeling of being loved and remembered, traditions that fills us with a sense of belonging. And even a Christmas gift.
I know you may think I am a nag, but, oh, well…get used to it. So…if you want to make this dream of mine, and the dream of thousands of kids, to come true, one place to start is at our homepage. Right here