Certainly this Christmas in Aleppo will be unique… No decorations on the streets, no Christmas trees in the homes; one cannot have a big family reunions since some have lost their homes and others are afraid to go out because of the danger. Nor will there be a special dinner because there is no cooking gas; there is no music or lights because of the lack of electricity, there will be no gifts or new clothes …
But these things are mere outward signs, signs that often obscure the true meaning of the feast day. How often have we celebrated Christmas worrying about these things only and emptying it of its true spiritual content?
So I dare say that the Christians here are fortunate. They have the chance to relive this event as Baby Jesus lived it. He was born outside His home, in a stable. In a stable! Even in the inn was no room for Him. He was born poor and experienced the cold. He suffered rejection, abandonment and persecution. That night there were no delicacies, no gifts … And yet, it was the most extraordinary feast of history: it was the birth of Salvation.
But can one be joyful in the midst of so much suffering? Yes, one can be. Thus, they who received Him with eyes of faith rejoiced and were filled with unparalleled joy.
This Christmas will be very unique … But it will be the best Christmas that they have experienced during these years. So what if there is no fresh bread or decorations? They prepare a willing heart and rejoice with spiritual joy because of the “God with us”, who comes to save. What else matters? They have the one thing necessary!
We a take special thanks to all who have prayed for us and each sent us a donation so that we can continue to help the victims of the war.We wish you all a very merry Christmas!
Sr. M. Guadalupe, SSVM