At the close of this evening’s #GivingTuesday, I find myself wondering, when I wake up tomorrow morning and troll through to the end of the internets, what will I find as the new commercial theme? #BOGOWednesday? #EtsyWednesday? #BuyHandmadeWednesday? Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that somewhere this year America decided to redeem the mass consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday with more selfless schemes like Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday; it definitely at least shifts the perspective a little more on others and a little less on self.
But, still. I mean, really? Is the whole month of Nov. 28th- Dec. 28th (my birthday, btw) going to transform into some kind of daily gimmick for money, capitalism, and the commercialization of national and religious holidays?
If I might, can I suggest a potentially more powerful way to focus your days and time and right clicking for the rest of this merry month?
It’s called Circling Syria, and a friend of mine shared it with me the other night. I’m not one to just push products or apps one’s way, but when I opened the link she sent, I was immediately impressed by the design of the initiative, the scale of the idea, and the urgency of the need.
Circling Syria is essentially a site, complete with all the social media links, dedicated to enabling people worldwide to intercede prayerfully on the behalf of the Syrians in crises. The idea of course, is that these global prayers would literally encircle the Syrian people and those prayers, in turn would powerfully mediation for the Syrian people, begging heaven to provide them with protection, provision, and mostly, hope. For so many of us who keep a semi-watchful eye on global events, the plight of people, like the Syrians, seems so distant, so far away, as real as Mars and about as feasible to get to in any kind of tangible way as well. And so, our hearts break, and our wallets may send a few dollars, but ultimately we’re left sickened at the thought of our own inadequacy to change the reality for millions of people suffering from the effects of war, sin, corruption, and downright evil.
And unfortunately, the news for Syria is not looking any better. Just this week, the UN announced their inability to continue providing food for Syrian refugees, of which there are 1.7 million who will be affected by this shortage. The situation is grim to say the least.
And yet, looking through the Syrian Circle website, I was reminded that these are lies. I’m not unequipped. I’m not helpless. I’m not inadequate. This world is not without hope. I have a plea I can make daily, hourly, moment by moment at the throne of heaven. God can do what the Red Cross cannot, what the UN cannot, and what refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, and other middle eastern countries cannot. Jesus can provide hope and healing and new hearts. He wrapped Himself in flesh and arrived in an anything but peaceful middle eastern nation 2,000 years ago as a baby and we celebrate Immanuel this month. How much more can He wrap His Syrian children in His love and peace and joy and hope?!
And I, well, I can ask. I can bang down heaven’s doors. When I was first struck by the depravity and tragedy of ISIS’s barbaric actions this summer, I cried and I prayed, and I blogged. And then, while I did not forget about the people trying to scrape together the crumbles left of their lives after unthinkable personal and national devastation, I did forget to pray. What Syrian Circle offers me, offers all of us who believe that our prayers and that our people matter, is a focused, real, and tangible way to pray daily throughout December, specifically for the people affected by the Syrian Civil War.
There are presents to be purchased, there are cookies to be made, trees to be cut down, pinterest wreaths to be made, and countless parties to attend. But this, this opportunity to pray intentionally for a hurting people is free, and easy, and reminds me why that baby came in the first place. And, if you are already a social media addict, CirclingSyria posts their prayer focus daily on their instagram account. Simply follow them, and daily we can all be reminded to pause our holiday busyness, and pray “O come, O come, Immanuel, and ransom not just captive Israel, but Syria too.”