Tuesday, December 21, 2004

christmas in iraq

I complain a lot. I complain that Christmas is losing its Christ. I complain that Christians in Iraq are getting blown to bits. If I were witty enough, I would complain about my complaining. But I'm not, so I'll try to combine those two previous posts into one short grievance.

Christmas in Iraq has been canceled.

Okay, if you're an American soldier, because of your gun, you're probably going to be safe. So celebrate away. But if you're an Iraqi Christian, chances are you won't be publicly commemorating the birth of the Christ child; mostly because you'll be fearing for your life. Where we see festivities to commemorate the season Advent, Iraqi insurgents might see universal "kill me" signs to commemorate the Christian occupation of their country. Merry you-know-what.

I don't know if I've ever been scared like that. It makes me sick to think of it for long periods of time, so honestly, I try not to. Maybe I should stop complaining and just enjoy the fact that I'm white and American and middle class. It's worked so far.

Or maybe I can grieve a little bit with Iraq on Christmas day - say a few trembling prayers for Christians and Muslims - remembering that on Christmas day some 2000 years ago, things weren't very festive. Mary and Joseph had been ordered by an empire to return to Bethlehem; baby Jesus was born in a barn; and the night-shift shepherds were the only ones invited.

So maybe I won't smile as much, or get little Christmas shivers so often....but maybe I don't care. Maybe Jesus in other countries is more important. I love him, as weird as it is to love someone I've never seen. But I do.

If the whole of creation can weep until Jesus remakes this world, maybe I should too....it's really the least I can do. And for now, maybe all I have to give.

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