“When you walk and fall over and get up again, you get strong. If you never fall over, if you don’t get up, you give up. God is looking after me.”

I have written about ‘Vinh’ before (not his real name) and his immigration detention in Port Augusta. Today we were called in to say goodbye to him and some of his compatriots as they are transferred to a much larger detention centre. Most of them were shattered at leaving their friends and the kind of ‘home’ this small centre has become for them. But Vinh was philosophical. No matter where he is sent, his faith will bear him up and give him character. He represents what we have learned from these young survivors: the light of Christ shines in the darkest night. On Christmas night they all put on the most superb Christmas concert for us. Throughout the well-rehearsed songs, dances, plastic-bag fashions, etc., Vinh interspersed his own brand of comic relief. And now he reassures us that all will be well. I pray that all who flee or fear may have his courage and hope!

Speaking of Christmas, I was touched by a blog from a friend of mine who is living in Palestine, right near Bethlehem. Bek writes moving observations about humanity in a war-torn area. Not only did she post a photo of Christmas in Bethlehem, but she shared a Christmas carol she had never heard before. Here are the words of the first verse and chorus:

When we offer a glass of water to a thirsty person, we are in Christmas. When we clothe a naked person with a gown of love, we are in Christmas. When we wipe the tears from weeping eyes, we are in Christmas. When we cushion a hopeless heart with love, we are in Christmas.

On the night of Christmas hatred will vanish; On the night of Christmas the earth blooms; On the night so Christmas war is buried; On the night of Christmas love is born.

If you would like to read more on her fascinating blog, see here.

As the Christmas or Hanukkah celebrations fade away and the New Year ones begin, spare a thought for those in need of love. We all need to hear sometimes that God, at least, is looking after us.