This is a short journal entry by the teen daughter of some missionary friends who are serving in the desert of Northern Africa. I am not at liberty to give their names, or their location. She even gives their town a fictitious name in her writing: Wakanda. It is very thought provoking and convicting, and should remind us of the real reason for the season.
It is worth the read.
‘I’m dreaming of a . . .’
Brown Christmas because that’s all I’m getting.
Yep, no snow. No ice-skating. No peppermint. No people dressed up as Santa or elves. No Christmas light exhibits. Or hot chocolate. Or caroling. Or fireplaces burning bright. Pretty much the line of any Christmas song in existence? Ain’t got it. Not even Mele Kalikimaka because we don’t have palm trees. We have thorn bushrees. (Trees, but only I would think that because I’ve lived here so long that they’ve begun to look an almost normal height.)
So, what does Christmas look like here?
Stripped. Raw. Real. The material things have been scraped away by the sand-filled wind and all that’s left is what really matters.
Christmas in Wakanda means every night we gather around our advent candles and count off another day. We watch the flames flicker on our faces. We hang an ornament on our Jesse Tree. We sing Joy to the World in defiance of a world that wishes the opposite.
Christmas in Wakanda means we are more excited to give than to get. We spend hours making presents and don’t bother counting the number under our Christmas tree.
Christmas in Wakanda means we cover our windows in paper snowflakes and joke about the weather. We tell stories about sledding and snowball fights and Christmases from when we still lived in the U.S. But we never miss it.
Christmas in Wakanda means we laugh with our adopted family here. We hold Christmas parties and eat way too much. We buy presents, sing together, and feel the warm gentleness of community.
Our computer still pumps out Christmas music. We still watch ‘Home Alone’ and ‘White Christmas’. We still hang up stockings and decorate our Christmas tree. We have candy canes stashed up. Our Christmas is still Christmas. It’s just richer and more. We miss our family in the States. We miss the snow. But this is our Christmas and it’s more precious than in any other place. We don’t have to fight to ‘capture the true meaning of Christmas’. It shines in our Advent candles. It burns in our hearts.
Christmas in Wakanda looks like Bethlehem before Christ. People shout and talk and go about their business as usual. The ‘roads’ are made up of dirt, rocks, and a few more rocks. There are goats and donkeys and camels everywhere. There’s darkness. But hope. There’s blindness. But the healer has come. There’s ignorance. But soon a light will shine so brightly that no one will be able to hide any longer.
And so we sing ‘O Come, O Come, Emanuel’ at the top of our lungs, waiting for the darkness to fall.