Paul Hansen is the International TEAR Program Officer for Nepal.
TEAR Australia is a movement of Christians in Australia responding to the needs of poor communities around the world. Our motivation comes from our belief that God loves all people, and in Christ offers them the opportunity of a new life. We believe that God is just, and has particular care for the poor and those who suffer as victims of injustice.
We work in partnership with other Christian groups, including churches, relief and development agencies and community-based organisations, which are working with the poor in their communities. We seek to build effective relationships with these partners, grounded in mutual respect, trust and accountability.
Advent Reflection by Paul Hansen
I travelled up a long bumpy dusty road to a village in Nepal near the Tibetan border. Stopped at a tin shed house (temporary housing following earthquake) where the couple who owned us made a great dahl baht and especially extended one of the beds to accommodate me (see photo).
As we were getting ready for the night, I couldn’t see where the owners were staying, so I asked them where they would sleep tonight.
“We’ll sleep outside tonight” they said.
“Cold” I said.
“We’ll manage” they replied. And they did.
I don’t think I’ve ever offered to sleep outside to accommodate a guest. I’m not sure I would.
What does it mean to be excluded, shut out and turned away? Thankfully, for most in our church community these experiences are rare. I read #TEARAdvent reflection on making room. Its on the story we all know of Joseph and Mary finding no room in the inn & at the end Greg Hewson gives a reflection:
It is a powerful reminder that the Christ we celebrate at Christmas comes in the form of the stranger. It calls us to open our hearts and our minds to the fact that this is the reality for many in the world. And prompts us to think about how, during Advent and beyond, we can continue to make room in our own lives for God, our neighbours and others.
A good question, but what does it feel like when those on the margins intentionally make room for the powerful and wealthy?