A thousand dreams, a thousand illusions as a child, a thousand requests from families united in prayer, a thousand sighs of deep pain for irremediable absences will rise this midnight between hugs and expressions of affection. Longings for a better future, prayers in intention of the absent son, questions about the future of the Nation, reflections of better vital purposes summarized in the time elapsed between 12 chimes, in the thunderous sound of the rocketry from midnight from December 24 to 25 : everything is accumulated and concentrated in a providential moment that illuminates, without electricity, the decorated mangers and trees, for all creeds, for all nations.
This is one of the longest nights of the year, but also one of the brightest, with the fiery love of families, the glow of shared friendships, and the glow of faith consistent with the daily works. Christmas in Guatemala is a tradition of decades, centuries, which has changed in some cultural manifestations, in the nature of gifts, in the means to send the congratulations, which before was a physical card and today is a video sent by social network, but that despite so many vicissitudes maintains its spiritual essence, its incandescent purity and also the challenge expressed as praise 2021 years ago: “Peace on earth to men of good will.”
Celebrating Christmas is a fleeting, but momentous pause. Herod Antipas also passed and continues to pass through December 24 and, nevertheless, a few days later he orders a massacre of innocents to preserve his supposedly all-embracing, supposedly impregnable power. But today it’s just a dusty name.
There are many families who will mourn tonight the absence of a loved one who perished, perhaps a victim of the pandemic, the growing violence or the migrant exodus. Even being away from the smiles of parents, children, nephews, in a foreign land, has its strong dose of regret. For all those families who are going through difficult times, our solidarity goes.
Claims for justice, probity, attention to development share space with living regrets, latent mourning, empty places at the Christmas dinner table cannot be explained. Only time will bring new directions for existence. The sun that rises from above emerges in the darkest of nights with a message of forgiveness, brotherhood, reconciliation, but also with a renewed guarantee of fulfillment of the promise of relief for those who are tired and burdened.
Declarations of supposed attachment to values are of little use if they are only to cover publicity appearances: convenient self-righteousness that tries to surprise the good faith of others. The empty voices of pro-life government labels do not take advantage of anything if the execution of resources destined to alleviate malnutrition, to attend to poverty and to reduce the starvation of so many families are opaque. “I also want to go worship him,” said the tetrarch proudly to try to deceive the kings of the East who were only looking for the authentic meaning of life that is service, donation, sacrifice.
In Guatemala there is a lot to build. The highest expression of faith is in actions. The best testimony is not found in lip service, but in legitimate personal, collaborative and generous effort. To all Guatemalans of good will: a Merry Christmas.