Christians celebrate Christmas today.
In Christian theology, God becomes human so humans can become like God by transmitting love and grace to their neighbours. The phrase “becoming flesh” is about solidarity with humankind.
There were heavy inundations in Ipoh in the 1990s and 2000s. I live in Lim Gardens, which is near rivers and prone to flooding.
During heavy rain and floods, it was as if a river flowed through our houses in Lim Gardens, bringing with it all sorts of creatures. The damage it caused was unprecedented.
During the floods, we will move our cars and motorcycles from the porch for safety. During this period of pushing things out of our comfortable houses, I experienced a unique spiritual moment when I saw neighbours struggling to remove their goods from their homes.
The disaster had given me an opportunity to help them by being concretely present to their needs. I was given an opportunity to get to know them as neighbours in an impersonal urban living context.
The floods did cause hardship, but the spirit of care and love towards neighbours as a whole triumphed.
On those faithful days, Lim Garden residents helped each other after being pushed out from their comfortable houses by the floods.
Now, we are seeing a great spirit among people of all religions, who are helping flood victims in states like Pahang and Selangor. Sikh temples are cooking vegetarian food for affected communities and mosques are being used to shelter affected folk.
A lesson that can be learnt from this episode of flooding is that faith in God can transform immersions into concrete realities, where love and solidarity emerge and are transmitted, irrespective of ethnicity and religion.
In this context, we celebrate life instead of life’s situations.
The spirit of Christmas, of God being in solidarity with humanity, is realised if one is immersed in realities that are then transformed into love and care. – The Malaysian Insight