After reminding him that Christmas is, in fact, on the 25th of December, I asked him if he'd ever celebrated it. He told me he hadn't, because his family is Muslim, and Christmas is a Christian holiday. It was the answer I expected, but it still made me a little sad to hear it.
It's like that little pang you feel reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, when it's "always winter, but never Christmas" in Narnia.
Except Kosovo is real.
But it's just a bunch of stuff. What I really miss about Christmas is the spirit of hope it brings. How it compels us to turn our faces to God, knowing that He has intervened on our behalf, and knowing that He will do it again.
Here, most people aren't sure that God would come to their rescue. Maybe if they were good enough. Maybe if he existed at all.
And I know this isn't just Kosovo. The whole world—even the Christmas-celebrating world—is looking for hope. For a way to begin anew, be restored, receive justice and mercy.
I love the way The Message translation of the Bible puts it:
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son, generous inside and out, true from start to finish.
We don't have to live in shame and despair. We can be friends of the living God. That is a great hope for me.
May you hold on to this hope, and may we cry out for our global family, that they may find the hope they are looking for.
Merry Christmas, and our warmest love,
Liz (and Sam)
PS: We'll be taking a short break from blogging during the holidays and our travels, but will return in January!