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Devotionals Christmas and New Year

by Gerben Welling – director

What will Santa Claus bring us this year? Does it bring some peace and distraction or does it keep us in suspense about the new year, about what awaits us? It’s an unknown.

Still, these days there  is some time to reflect on the past year with family and friends, each in their own way. Maybe the Top2000 reverberates through your house or headset or you get around to that book you already had lying around.

2021 did not bring us the peace we hoped for, something invisible like a virus kept us in check. Sometimes you think that nature is angry with us, angry because we as humans have exhausted the earth. Worryingly, divisions in society have increased. Vaccinated people have increasingly come up against unvaccinated people. I am particularly concerned about the way in which we are no longer in dialogue with each other. We exchange opinions and seem to be less able to listen to other people’s opinions. Conducting a dialogue is only possible if, in addition to speaking, you have mastered the art of listening and asking questions.

The dialogue originated with the ancient Greeks, the Socratic conversation. After all, a dialogue is a conversation between different people, in which a free exchange of ideas takes place, which leads to new insights among those involved. Characteristic of this is that meanings arise that could not have come about without dialogue. Real listening is at the heart of this.

The lack of dialogue and increasing polarization leads to great tensions in society and relationships. Boundaries cut across groups of people. It’s a complicated situation. Everyone knows someone who is against vaccination or believes COVID19 is a conspiracy. Only with respect for each other, listening and seeking connection, can we move forward.  Thinker Laureate, philosopher Paul van Tongeren, recently wrote: “As a society, we can deal with the fifteen percent unvaccinated.” Is he hitting the nail on the head with this and do we dare to enter into a dialogue? A great resolution for 2022.

I wish everyone some rest in the coming days, time for reflection and connection.

A word of thanks is in order. 2021 was a year of extremes. The newly merged organization had many questions and uncertainties.  Many changes, different Corona policy every week. A CSP, not a CSP. We end the year with a CSP. Together, we also vaccinated almost 2000 vulnerable people living at home, and we contributed to vaccinating our own colleagues. Thank you for all the flexibility and commitment you have shown. Chapeau.

Merry Christmas and stay careful.

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