Hadil and Yasin have the life everyone dreams of. Young, ambitious and even good-looking, they are University graduates. Yasin works at a lucrative job in the Gulf. The salary, in fact, is more than they can spend, and they are smart enough to invest it for their future. They’ve opened the first ball-gown boutique in the central desert region of their North African nation, a city with few luxury items, and even fewer occasions for such dresses. Still, there are women eager to try on the glittering gowns.
Hadil sits inside the curtain that shields the front window of the boutique, just opened. The silk flowers are still fresh, not yet faded and frayed by the desert dust of her home town, where dirty streets and boutique gowns have never dared to mix before now. She is offering friends, relatives and patrons a glimpse of life as they know it only from the glossy pages of magazines and soap operas.
But it has cost twice what she imagined. Her first “shipment” of dresses, brought in her own luggage from abroad, was first confiscated at the airport, then taxed heavily, then “lost” by the guards. She came home half a year’s salary gone, as well as empty handed. Her father brought the next shipment over the border in his van, at a crossing where he knows the guards personally.
“It’s worse than before the revolution,” a friend commiserates. “Yes, life is worse,” says Hadil, who wears her hijab loosely over tight jeans, a skimpy t-shirt and dyed blonde hair. “We need a revolution from the revolution. Things are more corrupt than ever.” She pauses for thought.
“You know what we really need?” she says, “We need a radical revolution.”
I reflected on this, and realised, Jesus is the only radical revolution that will really bring any kind of radical change in the lives of our North African friends and neighbours. Jesus’ revolution was so radical it meant the Son of God being born to Earth as a baby, to a young not-yet-married girl, to be raised in the city of Nazareth (“what good ever comes from Nazareth?”), to then be executed by the Romans on a cross, only to win the battle over satan and death and hell, coming back to life in order to secure for us and all our North African friends, eternal life! Jesus’ radical revolution is about all of eternity for all of mankind. And it starts with a little baby born in an animal stable. The story we remember this Advent season. The story we celebrate every Christmas. It fills our lives with wonder, hope, thankfulness… for this story, is indeed the TRUTH!
Can you turn this into prayer for North Africa today?