It's Christmas. People are celebrating the world over. Many are celebrating the birth of the Messiah, the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy. An event that brought strangers together two millennia ago. And still does today. An event that brings humans together regardless of our differences.
C. S. Lewis wrote that “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal… Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.” One of our two greatest commandments is to live out neighbor love--every day and everywhere we go. As members of one body, or in the words of Lewis, organs We best reflect the Triune God when we faithfully love and respect one another.
We are to celebrate the diversity that God structurally designed. We must learn to affirm the diversity of the body of Christ’s Kingdom, acknowledging its beautiful makeup of people from different cultures, colors, languages, and traditions.
In the wake of apartheid, Desmond Tutu traveled the world and spoke to various groups and world leaders about South Africa’s experience. One of his central themes was that of the practical implications of ubuntu--a difficult concept to translate properly. Tutu offers this definition of the concept in one his books: “I am what I am because of who we all are.” He goes on to state that “Our humanity is caught up in that of all others. We are human because we belong. We are made for community, for togetherness, for family, to exist in a delicate network of interdependence.” It is crucial for us to have a deep understanding of this and practice it in our daily lives.
Check out this 2011 Huffington Post article in which an excerpt from a speech given by Tutu in 2001 is included. Desmond Tutu: Our Glorious Diversity
May Christmas remind us of our shared humanity. And may we remember it throughout the year.