For 6 years in the Middle East where I lived and served, Christmas was to me a time when I celebrate the wonder of God’s miracle Jesus amongst live camels and sheep. The Christmas pageant at church always staged livestock such as these, making the Christmas story come so much closer. As I got closer to the church in the Middle East, the ordinary people and refugees who live there, I could not help but allow myself to be marked. Marked, not marred, mind you. Marked in a profound way that helps me identify with the suffering and pain ever increasingly evident in this troubled world we live in.
The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us. The Word came near as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in our hearts. Will we allow ourselves to go near not just to Israel as a holy land, but to those suffering in deep darkness in that unique part of the world? Hear the stories of those who went near. To see, to hear, to sense His heartbeat.