We are decorating a two foot high plastic tree on my office desk today- one that was given to us out of great sympathy by a local American friend a few years ago. She pimps out her 4+4 truck with Christmas rope inside, and wears a Santa hat. She is hilarious. A few years ago we basically had an empty house, with no decorations, and it seemed rather pathetic and sad, I am sure. So she graciously handed us this two foot Snoopy tree, with some decorations to use on it . They are all we decorate with to this very day.
I asked my wife today if she could please set up the Christmas tree on my desk, play Christmas songs, and sing a little, as she always does when music is on. She’s so fun. She did…. and it helped.
A Canadian lady we know is coming down from Bamako to Sikasso, to stay with this American friend. All four of us will get together for a Christmas meal….
A little more cheery than the year we spent Christmas dinner at the road side resto, “Chez Les Amis”, with the owner Nestor, who happened to be a Catholic. Without an oven we can’t bake or roast anything. So we ate our Christmas dinner, which consisted of our $1 plate of rice and peanut sauce, in the shadow of Nestor’s ancient plastic snoopy tree, with one paper star decoration on one branch.
But it created a memory, right? Because we still remember the day. Sadly Nestor is no more, he passed away a few weeks ago, his restaurant is no more. We celebrated several New Year’s Eves there, too. But now that chapter of our life is firmly closed.
One thing for certain is that we cannot recreate the Canadian Christmas here in Mali. Frankly, we are not interested in trying to do that. What we have, though different, has its own charm, in its own simple way, with a whole different variety of people.
I am at the crotchety age where I really don’t care about the pomp and circumstance surrounding most things, holidays included. How do you “create ” Christmas anyway?
Christmas is the birth of a son, this is not a fabrication of any kind, it is a fact to be celebrated or not. It is not a hovering dream or mere fuzzy feeling to be recreated. He is something to be celebrated or not. We choose to live and celebrate Him in our own pathetic little way in Mali.
We are thankful for those who have taken mercy on us in this forced-upon-us Christmas simplicity, by filling the gap in our lives. But we can’t help but miss our sons, their wives, and our grand-child.
“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:5 NAS)
So much we do not understand.
This generation does not believe in darkness anymore, naive about the hate and harm coming from the souls of so many evil men who would torture and kill others as if they were a common house fly.
Fortunately, I’ve seen great light here, and unfortunately I have seen deep darkness in the hearts of some very angry men too. Where does that come from?
We choose to celebrate Light.
Shine little tree, shine.