I’m sitting here after a week of thunderstorms and intermittent rain, enjoying a cool breeze coming through the door next to me, and watching a program on Mercy Ships. On the program, the ship has docked at the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the statistics being flung around are almost unbelievable.

I’m struck by how fortunate we are to live in Australia, and how the universal healthcare system we have here is so easy to take for granted. We can opt into private health cover if we wish, and many do, but no-one is turned away if they need health care in Australia.

As I type, I’m watching a small child with an enormous bilateral valgus – very bowed legs – stagger his way towards the ship. And then I’m seeing several more children with similar deformities struggling into the ship. They progress to surgery, and I’m sure we’ll see what the outcomes are by the end of the program.

The program is focusing on some of the Australian volunteers on Mercy Ships who are helping to change people’s lives. There’s an engineer, a surgeon, a paediatric nurse, and a variety of other people, all making a huge difference, one life at a time.

There are more smiling faces than I can count. Smiles from both patients and staff, and a message of hope and healing that is very much changing the lives of many.

It’s a great program to watch at this time of year as Christmas approaches, because it tells of hope, which for me, is the entire message of Christmas.

In contrast, the program is bracketed by a series of commercials, and the first one is about the new series of My Kitchen Rules. I’m struck by that contrast – we can have a program all about cooking decadent food, while others in our world struggle for the basics of life and healthcare, and I’m feeling slightly ashamed of our first world issues.

Food for thought perhaps?

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