Arguably, this year is heavy enough for Christians in Indonesia. The dynamics of national and global socio-politics climate that tends to take advantage using superficial political identity has spawned into the destabilize inter-religious harmony. These include the difficulty permit of church construction and operation, bombing case in East Borneo, and yes… various forms of sweepings.
Lastly, a number of “community elements” are even problematized the use of Christmas accessories which actually has nothing relevant with the Christian faith. Because we are in a minority position, I see almost no one dared to catapult critical thinking to the mass media – in fact, most of my friends seem uninterested and continue to celebrate Christmas rather than trying to sounding the discrimination.
In this writing, I want to focus more talk about among my fellow Christians. At the one hand, I never agreed with any form of restraint towards the rights of Christian minorities in Indonesia, a country that uphold unity in diversity. At the other hand, I also have desire to see Christians in Indonesia are more critical – both in terms of voicing their rights and other “minority” groups, those who have not had access to speak because of their poverty and and the inability to fight for justice.
From what I learned from history, Jesus Christ was born into this world not in carousing glowly lights and “jingle bells” fast rhythm. He was willing to be born in “silent night” poverty, to rescue those who are oppressed and held their hands who have been judged as sinners by head of religious groups. Jesus was born to brings good news, joy, love and peace for this world.
The history even noted that Jesus was not born in December. In spreading the spirit of love, Jesus and His diciples was walking from one village to another (known as “blusukan” in Indonesia). He exposed by heat and rain, also judged just because He never judge the sinners. He never exalt Himself or tried to defend His comfort zone.
But then I realized that the splendor of Christmas today is more about the spirit of capitalism. Christmas accessories, spruce, reindeer, Santa Claus, exchange gifts, mid night sale, etc. There is nothing wrong with celebrate or eating together in a family atmosphere because Jesus also did. But there is something wrong when the spirit of Christ for marginalized people is no longer become the main spirit of Christmas.
In the midst of capitalist world, people like Pastor Agus Sutikno who prefers to help transvestites groups and the inhabitants of East Flood Canal in Semarang become increasingly rare to find. Along with his prayer ministry, he also actively teaching and playing with the children without any agenda for more than a decade. He only wants to show the real love, as Christ did the same.
At the beginning of this year, I even saw a very sad condition of the church in the central highlands of Papua. The priests only living by yams given by the local people – which is also equally poor (don’t have enough money). Nevertheless, they still eagerly praising and worshiping the Lord. When I asked the children to play the ‘snakes and ladders’ simply game, they have been very excited and happy.
I also know some friends in the path of humanity as way of life. Of course we don’t have to become a social worker to share the love. When we show the genuine love through real humanitarian actions – wherever and whenever – it is irrefutable by anyone who feel it, though not guarantee there are still some people provoke it as “imaging action”.
At this time, once again, I guess it is not easy for Christians in Indonesia to celebrate Christmas without any pressure. But I believe love speak louder than hatred. This is the spirit of Christmas. Christmas without Christ’s spirit is nothing than the ritual tradition. So, let us always bring this spirit goes beyond December for those who are marginalized, no matter their background are.
Merry Christmas, fellas!
– Sylvie Tanaga –
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