“What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of….” That was in the lyrics of a popular song back in 1965, “What the World Needs Now Is Love.” I believe most of us, if not everyone, would agree with that. We live in a world culture where egoistic love seems more evident than altruistic and inclusive love, which we celebrate with Christmas. The love of Christmas is about the Son of God, who empties himself, enters into our history to be with us, and through that, becomes our future.
But besides love, our world also needs hope, real hope that stems from the love of Christmas and gives us the confidence to face the darkness that seems to have besieged our world.
Geopolitical tensions are in the daily news, and nowhere is it more noticeable than the atrocious Russo-Ukrainian War. When and how will it end? The intensifying geopolitical tensions in east Asia should also be an area of growing concern. The flagging global economy plus the geopolitics are unsettling our hearts and unnerving our spirits. The wavering prospects of 2023, between light and darkness, hope and despair, are contributing to a growing sense of hopelessness and frustration around the world. What can we do to make a difference when confronted with these harsh realities?
Through mutual care, support and self-giving, instead of self-interests coming first. After all, the best gift at Christmas is the giving of oneself for the betterment of others.
However, this self-giving action should be paired with respect and empathy. We have seen well-meaning adults and parents wanting to give their best to their younger ones, including their well-thought-out plans. Similarly, elderlies are increasingly lonely and depressed when protective measures have cut them off from their loved ones during the pandemic. Yet, these are not appreciated or welcomed by their intended recipients. Instead, we see young people becoming miserable, resentful, despairing or totally inert as a sign of protest. And elderlies have passed away in isolation without their loved ones accompanying them.
The desirable way of giving is through down-to-earth accompaniment to achieve empathic and mutual understanding between givers and recipients. Then the givers will know how best to give themselves to their recipients. And how best to help them see hope.
A gift of love is in fact a gift of life! May we find the best way to become givers of such gift to our recipients. A heart-warming Christmas and a hope-filled 2023 to you all!