After the trauma of the XXth century, the deep physical psychic and spiritual wounds left behind by genocidal regimes, after intense efforts to pit ethnos against ethnos, religion against religion, people against people, it’s a miracle that on these lands called the “bloodlands” by Timothy Snyder today we live in peace - without war, without wonton starvation, without progression in death and destruction. Independent Ukraine is a miracle and its 20 years survival and development as a generally democratic state is against the odds. Surrounded by the authoritarian Russia and Belarus, compared with the war scared Armenia, Osetia, Azerbaijan, Chechnya, in contrast to Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, Ukrainians enjoy a modicum of peace and freedom.
In light of Soviet style and atmosphere it’s a miracle to see color in clothing, smiles on faces and to listen to the babble of international calls, wistful and nostalgic as many of them are. To sing the carols, to parade the Christmas pageant plays, to go door to door without fear that neighbor will turn you in and the state will lock you down. It’s a miracle to have different food, often with abundance, at our tables and guests and friends sitting across from each other laughing and with good cheer.
It’s a miracle to stand looking at the universe, gazing at the stars and daring to believe that the Creator of it all, the Word that brought it to being, became one of us and dwelt in our sorrows and joys, shared our table, drank our wine, sang our songs, lived our lives, and died our death so that we may live.
As rich as we may be, we often feel stalked by our poverty, fearful of our frailty and daunted by the fanatic frenzy of our time. Whatever part of the miracle is ours, let us share it, whatever gift we have been given let us multiply it giving to others. May our gratitude for the miracles in our lives, for the very miracle of life, be for us the source of true joy and true peace.