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Advent Reflections: Christian Aid

This year Christian Aid's Christmas Appeal focuses on climate change and how mothers on the frontline face impossible choices every day.


In South Sudan, climate change is polluting fragile water sources, killing crops and destroying homes. Combined with years of conflict and the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s forcing mums to make difficult decisions on behalf of their children. Dirty water, or none at all? A morsel of food each, or a bigger portion for one? School fees, or materials to rebuild the family home?


For Adut it meant giving her three children dirty water. She knew it wasn’t safe, but she had no choice. Today her children can now get clean, safe water from a hand pump. However climate change has a more far reaching impact than we think. Currently there are more than 41 million people in 43 countries who are on the brink of famine; a global hunger emergency. And with winter setting in, there are 8 million people in critical need. Most of them are in Afghanistan.


Maryann Horne, reporting in the Independent, has recently returned from a field mission in Afghanistan supporting the Afghan Red Crescent Society. Her opening words in her article "Many words have been used to describe what is happening in Afghanistan. Few can describe the true scale of the humanitarian catastrophe unfurling."


A report published US Office of the Director of National Intelligence also lists Afghanistan as one of 11 countries that are most likely to lack financial resources and governance capacity to adapt to climate change effects. The Prince of Wales is also warning that a million Afghan children could die during a catastrophic winter, amid drought, war, Covid-19 and sanctions against the Taliban.


When Jesus was born 2,021 years ago, Afghanistan didn't exist. It was just a valley controlled by the Parthian Empire, the Bactrian Kingdom and the Yavana Kingdom. Rivals of the Roman Empire. Draught, war and death were common. Children were born in poverty-laden situations. Children like Jesus Christ; the saviour of the world; the Prince of Peace.


Image if Jesus was born today. He would likely be born in Afghanistan, South Sudan, or some other country where poverty is common amongst the people. Mary and Joseph struggling with the impossible choice - do we find a hospital or give birth in a dirty outbuilding? With Foreign Aid Workers becoming the Magi, bearing gifts of shelter, warmth and food.


So whilst women like Adut from South Sudan have faced these 'modern' impossible choices, they're not new. Mary faced them when she was carrying Jesus, riding on the back of donkey, as have many other mothers, and fathers, in the bible.


This Christmas please donate what you can to any of Christian Aid's Appeals to save a life that was once shared by Jesus.


Prayer of Reflection.

Our Father in the highest heavens.

This Christmas we light the world with your son's birth.

May his name heal the world,

Today, Tomorrow and Always.

Amen


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