A Myanmar priest opens up to describe what hope would look like for people under dictatorship for almost seven decades. The priest hopes for something unknown to bring us joy amid the recent military coup. Like Mother Mary, the Myanmar people do not know the future. But young priest invites fellow pilgrims to hold hands and move towards what we are hoping for and accept the situation like Mary. The author looks for great things to happen in Myanmar with just hope the month of December brings.
I have listened to the song "Mary, did you know," co-created by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene for a long time already. But this year, I reflected on this song. I want to share some of my thoughts.
These lyrics may seem like questions and answers on the bridge. But they highlight Mary's hope and faith, even though she did not know what the unborn baby Jesus would do or happen in the future.
She did not know what would happen, but with immense hope, she embraced and replied to the Angel Gabriel, "I am the Lord's servant, may your word to me be fulfilled."
It is not wrong to say, December is a 'holy month of hope' for Christians. We prepare with hope and faith to welcome Christ to be born in our lives.
It's time we celebrate Christmas as a family reunion, share the good news, show affection, and care for each other. In Myanmar, too, it is questionable what our hopes will be in 2021.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the coup on February 1, 2021. The nation's economy is disrupted with protests against the military forces, battles in border regions amid a surge in coronavirus cases.
Currently, Myanmar is suffering the consequences of the coup. Many people lost their jobs. People joined the civil disobedience movement (CDM) to oppose the current regime. The prices of essential commodities like food and fuel have doubled. There are a lot of people who do not have enough food to eat for survival.
Junta battling everywhere; there are shelling even in the cities. People are like refugees in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps. Young people are joining the arm forces, like People Defense Force (PDF).
The military forces have burned down villages in the Sagay division, Kachin, Shan, Chin and Kaya states. Even in a city like Thantland, more than 346 houses and 22 churches were burned down within one month.
What shall we do to those people living in a dangerous situation?
Families are suffering - depressed due to the loss of family members and belongings. Some families have no place to return; their villages and houses were burned.
We need to open our generous hearts and let's give them hope.
We want them to be at ease, be treated like a human, live like a human. It makes our hearts painful, the children crying of hunger and pain.
December be the time of sharing and caring for the needy around us.
Do you see? Look at it; village people are crying, including children, old people and pregnant women are running away from the villages because they are afraid of the soldiers.
In this terrible time, we, the people of Myanmar, "What will be our hope?" Like the song that I said above, we do not know what will happen in Myanmar or how long it will take, but like Mary, we also hope for something unknown that will bring us joy.
We, the people of Myanmar, have been suffering (under dictatorship) for more than seven decades. Hope can be anything for us. There is no denying that our faith is the same as we hope for.
Most importantly, this "December" offers opportunities to live up to our hopes and beliefs.
It doesn't mean that we have to do these things only in December. But December is a special month for Christians and also the holy month of HOPE for us. Instead of having parties, buying new clothes, giving among the relative, this year especially those who need our help and give to those people.
One day we will all be happy together; it is not far. It is in our hands. In order to be happy together, we have to consider those who are not happy now because of the different sufferings.
Mary, her strong faith and hope push her to accept the will of God even though she knows nothing about the future of the baby.
It is like the same in our country and our future. We do not know what will happen. But the important thing is we have to hold hands to move on towards what we are hoping for and accept the situation like Mary.
December and Christmas is the best time to do for the good of others. The joy of Mary is coming; likewise, our joy and freedom are on the way.
Let our hope and faith be strengthened with our help for each other in Jesus' name.