Christmas in Aleppo: an unfitting celebration?

Dialogue between an aleppian and Christ

Aleppian:

Lord, it has been a long time since we had electricity. If you come here you will not find the road. In fact after 4:30 pm, one cannot see even his own hands.

Ah, there is no water as well … the virgin cannot wash herself after the birth.

And moreover, there we lack even the basic food to feed you. It really is a purposeless feast.

It’s winter, and it is bitterly cold here! There is no heat, so you will have to suffer the biting cold.

The roads are cut off, filled with check points, and since you are a foreigner, they might cause you problems. They will cause you a lot of delay ! …. You better not come this year!

Above all, we are sad and distressed … Many have died, and every day we come to know of  more terrible events. The constant and deafening noises will scare you. We ourselves are very afraid! Honestly, we don’t have the enthusiasm to celebrate your birth. We do not even have the strength to build the manger. Forgive us Lord, this year please do not come!

…. Do you not know the tragedy of this city?

Yes, definitely, it is better that you don’t come this year … it is better that you not be born among us, it would be a pointless celebration.

Christ:

Dear son, you’re mistaken. I do not come when everything is well. The reason for my coming is the wretchedness of man. So, this is a very appropriate feast! It’s a feast where there is a coming together of misery and mercy, sin and forgiveness, the cross and the resurrection.

Since my childhood I wanted to experience this …. I came to a manger for love of man.

It is a very appropriate celebration because Aleppo has become a manger … misery, poverty, animals, dirt…. Nevertheless, there are souls who are waiting for the Savior!

I have seen the suffering of my people. And even though you do not see it, I continue to pour out graces which move hearts to the good.

Today I come for love of man who is sad and distressed. And I would come a  thousand times over if necessary, in order to show my love and nearness.

I come that they may have life – my divine life which gives strength and uplifts the heart in time of misery.

I come so that people may return to the essential meaning of this feast …  it is a feast for the simple, the humble, who seek God in everything and God alone!

I come to free them from the bondage of sin and evil inclinations. To free them from the pagan festivities that the world has created …. Hedonism, consumerism, decorations and blatant falsehood … shameless clothing, makeup, worldly presents, night parties and dances.

I come so that may live a virtuous life and be an example to others.

I come so that by my mercy, they may show mercy to the needy.

Aleppenian:

Yes, Lord, you’re right, it’s a very fitting celebration! We have wanted to celebrate it thus: with faith, hope and charity, placing everything in your small but powerful hands. And this is what has given us new courage. We have already celebrated the Mass and then participated in the celebration of your coming, we have regained the joy of Christmas ….

Merry Christmas Lord! …. And Merry Christmas to all!

Natale siria aleppo ive

Missionary Fathers and Sisters in Syria

This entry was posted in Institute of the Incarnate Word - IVE - Syria. Bookmark the permalink.

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