I swing back and forth between despair/anger and hope/joy this Christmas season. The swings are not drastic, and it’s only in the extremes that I am wholly captured by one or the other.
DESPAIR – The Wars in Syria and Iraq
Reading about the final assault on Alepp
o. The way this saga is playing out has been breaking my heart for months, but we’ve reached the end. There has been conflicting and constantly updating news about a ceasefire to evacuate civilians (currently happening according to BBC), and the news is interspersed with wrenching videos of trapped women and children saying goodbye to the world. I feel sickened and helpless. I gave a small gift to Preemptive Love, who are as close as anyone can get to Aleppo, feeding the evacuees (and also serving the people fleeing Mosul at the same time). If you can, please give something to them for emergency relief, but you can also give to my friends at The Refuge Initiative in Kurdistan who are serving Iraqi and Syrian refugees. They are particularly in need of money to buy kerosene as snow has started falling.
Other despairs: Fred’s relative died; four inches of reports to input; car problems.
JOY – A Child Shall Lead Them
I love our church’s bilingual services, and last week’s Christmas service hit a really great spot for me. The worship team often translates familiar English language worship songs into Swahili, and they did that with a couple of Christmas carols for the service. Then we sang some carols in English, with our (English) pastor and his young son leading us. It was just lovely to sing O Come All Ye Faithful surrounded by expats and Tanzanians, led by a 10 year old boy with a sweet voice. It helped this season *feel* more Christmas-y.
(Here’s a link to a slightly cheesy video of white people singing O Come All Ye Faithful in Swahili: https://vimeo.com/73465998 I know it’s weird, but it will give you a taste, and, honestly, it’s kind of what church looked like anyway.)
Other Joys: My kids playing with each other and the neighbors; watching The Holiday with some Mwanza friends; eating knock-off Nutella and ranch-flavored tortilla Pringles; great stories from Mama Maisha; rain (not to be taken for granted in TZ); the more peaceful pace of life in TZ; birds in every color of the rainbow outside my office window.
If you feel too much despair right now, and want to be part of something joyful, we are hoping to do another Christmas food distribution to some vulnerable families we know.
We won’t be there in person, but good friends will make it happen for us. If you’d like to add something to the little thing we’re going to do, you can paypal us and we’ll get it this week as we’re planning. Let’s be part of hope into despair for some families who are suffering.