Shalom: wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.
This account of a Christmas celebration in Bangladesh reflects a true sense of shalom. The reflection, entitled "On Christmas Day: a great gust of joy," was shared on the Taizé website in 2012. Here is an excerpt from this uplifting piece:
The mid day meal today was festive, although the menu was simple. There were at least 150 of us who sat down together! Thankfully our house is surrounded by a large garden, close to the Bramaputra River which flows through the town. Among our guests, we had over 50 children and young people with a mental disablement whom we know well, accompanied by young volunteers who share their daily life. Most of these children and young disabled people were abandoned at birth by their very poor parents. There was also a good number of very poor children from our two “children’s clubs” situated in two of the disadvantaged neighbourhoods of the town. Some of them live in a little shanty town near the station, or else in the station itself when they have no family. They had prepared songs and dances which they presented after the meal, during an entertainment improvised out of doors.
There were also a good number of Moslem friends, as well as Hindus and Christians from our little community, who were very happy to spend this time together; among them were crippled people, a blind man, and beggars we had invited the evening before….
This was a very beautiful moment to live together with much laughter and singing. It was like a great gust of joy and shared friendship that carried us along…. Added to all this, it was a beautiful sunny day; the previous days had been particularly cold."
Read the full reflection