Lighting the world with hope

‘Scar of Bethlehem’ by Banksy

Banksy, the famous British street and graffiti artist released a new nativity scene located in the Walled Off Hotel, called the ‘Scar of Bethlehem’. In this scene, Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus are lying underneath a piece of West bank wall which separates Israel from the Palestinian territories. Instead of the traditional star hanging over the crib, there is what appears to be a large bullet hole piercing the imposing wall.

The scene is compelling since it is depicting the events which happened 2000 years ago in such a way which resonate with the situation of the world of today. The holy family were refugees, in a similar way to the millions of people displaced from their country every year. The wall is the embodiment of those who think they are almighty, the barriers which are keeping people away from their homeland. The scar is a symbol that not all hope is lost. It shows us that the mighty walls can be perforated. It also captures our attention, precisely like the star did. That is where we have to look, that is where we have to intervene. But how can we do that?

“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” — St. Francis Of Assisi

In a tormented world where darkness seems to prevail, I came across a quote by St. Francis of Assisi. On pondering about these words, the following thoughts came to my mind.

  • Irrespective how dark and terrifying darkness is, the light of a candle still shines through.
  • Next to the immensity of darkness which seems to engulf everything, the tiny candle still manages to shine.
  • A speck of light is more than enough to help us find our way.

So today, I’m here writing a message of hope. Let’s try to be a candle which spreads light. Yes, the darkness is enormous, but so is the power of light. You don’t need to be a blazing fire, but just a tiny candle to help others find their way. And remember, the candle doesn’t show the path to itself, but for others. So if you can, be the light. There is already so much sadness and pain in this world; why not try to create a better world?

Of course, sometimes we are so engulfed in the darkness that we cannot see the light. When war, illness, sadness, and a million calamities surround us, how can we even start finding our way? I believe that the secret lies in having faith in the almighty. As Paolo Coelho, the famous Brazilian novellist wrote in his book the Alchemist;

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” — Paolo Coelho

Throughout these past years, I was helping a friend of mine with the setting up of a soup kitchen whose aim is to give people a life with dignity. When we started, we needed so much money that I was wondering whether we will ever manage to collect it. But the faith of my friend was undeterred. He used to tell me to place my trust in the divine providence.

Visuals of the soup kitchen
Visuals of the soup kitchen

The divine providence is the belief that God will provide. I must confess I had my doubts until I saw it working in front of my eyes. It was not an easy journey, but the whole team managed to collect enough funds, and in the coming weeks, the works on the soup kitchen will be starting. Of course, we still need more funds (so if you would like to contribute, please do so here) but I’ve learnt to be patient, work hard and have faith in the divine providence without worrying too much.

The moral of this is very simple. Do not despair, even if your situation looks tragic. Be grateful for what you have. Do not ponder on the future while missing the present, because no one knows the future and things can always change. Have faith that things will get better. Believe that the storm will pass and a new dawn is awaiting us. And even if you are in the centre of the storm at the moment, look around you! Your kids, your partner, your parents, your family, your friends. We have so many blessings. Be grateful that you have been given this time with them and enjoy it to the full.

“Hope is like the sun. If you only believe in it when you see it, you’ll never make it through the night.” — General Leia Organa Solo

General Leia Organa Solo — Star Wars

May the arrival of the saviour renew our hopes in this holy period. Wish you all a Happy Christmas!

Professor of #AI at @uniofmalta, @AIMalta, Co-organiser at #GDGMalta

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