Christmas 2020: Week 3, Day 5: Humility

“Remembering you were lucky is what keeps you humble.”

‘Luck’ wouldn’t be my choice of words, but the point was well made. I was listening to a man of colour speaking about what it took for him, as a BIPOC, to succeed. He had needed to work hard and persevere (more than his white peers), but his success was also partly beyond his control. 

He recognised he had needed help from the outside – and he didn’t want to forget that. Instead, he made a point of ‘holding the door open’ for other people, who hadn’t yet made it like he had. 

I often think of the phrase ‘there but for the grace of God.’ I’m so very conscious that I would not be where I am, able to do the things I’m doing, if God had not been doing things for me, unasked, behind the scenes. 

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Christmas 2020: Week 1, Day 4: Speech

“I explained it when I danced it.”

Margot Fonteyn, ballerina

Speech is possibly one of the greatest gifts we have as human beings. 

But not all speech is words.

In May 2019, I heard Sybella Wilkes speak at the Royal Opera House in London. She was the senior communications officer at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

She said that the world is going numb to the global refugee crisis; people want to turn away and not look. Perhaps that’s unsurprising – there isn’t a solution and the problem is getting worse. 

Over the evening, a panel of speakers talked about the importance of music and dance. The arts give voice to experiences that do not have words; they express something which cannot be communicated through conventional means. What’s more, refugees need spaces to express themselves in the arts — just as much as they need water, food and shelter.

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Christmas 2020: Week 1, Day 2: Testimony

A couple of years ago, I heard a short talk about how Christians share personal stories about their experience of God. We often call this ‘testimony.’ 

The speaker highlighted how during the 80s in the UK, testimony in churches became sensational. You would hear polished packages of very dramatic stories. But along the way, these stories lost their authenticity and their usefulness; they became repetitive and weren’t easy to relate to. Partly because of this, the word ‘testimony’ can have tainted connotations within the church. 

And yet, if a Christian was asked to write a letter to a younger person, to convey something about their faith, then the letter would probably be a form of testimony. They would be sharing their lived experience and showing a part of why they believe what they believe. 

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