Have a (slightly) blue Christmas

Have a (slightly) blue Christmas December 22, 2023

Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian Christian woman and political leader, wrote on X the other day a series of posts about Gaza, addressed to all of us. It began,

Can you take a drink of water without thinking of the people of Gaza going thirsty & getting sick for lack of clean water?

Can you eat a meal without thinking of them starving?

Can you sleep a whole night in your bed without thinking of them being bombed in theirs?

Can you put on warm clothes without remembering them shivering in the cold?

Can you take refuge in your safe home without remembering how their homes are being destroyed even with whole families inside them?

Can you hold your loved ones without remembering how they lost theirs?…

Can you forget the torn bodies, the traumatized wounded children, the haunted look in the eyes of those who have lost everything & everyone, the horrible rubble of everything that sustained life now turned into a mass grave or trap for the injured?

I can’t.

You can’t.

Is she right? Do you recall throughout your day that a massacre is going on using our tax dollars, our weapons, our blessing? And when you recall, do you bow your head in anguish?

I hope so.

By Ice Tea via Unsplash
Have a blue Christmas

I hope your Christmas this year is a little blue with the knowledge that back in the land where Jesus was born, there is nothing but violent death, wanton destruction, and hopelessness. Our hearts should be broken this Christmas, because the actual people who live in the actual little town of Bethlehem have cancelled Christmas this year.

I hope your heart is a little heavy with the knowledge that nearly every day for the last two and a half months, hundreds of families lost sons, daughters, parents, grandparents. They are 2.3 million fish in a barrel.

I hope this fills you with sorrow, because if it doesn’t, a part of your heart is unwell.

The needless deaths of over 20,000 people – mostly women and children – should break every one of us. We are witnessing genocide happening right now, in real time.

I hope you can see that no one deserves to be bombed for the mistakes of others, that no people group could possibly ever deserve to be the victims of genocide.

photo by Emad El Byed, via Unsplash. A scene of the devastation suffered by the besieged Gaza Strip as it suffers genocide at the hands of Israel
photo by Emad El Byed, via Unsplash. A scene of the devastation suffered by the besieged Gaza Strip as it suffers genocide at the hands of Israel

And I sincerely hope that your heart is crushed a bit right now by the fact that a family in Gaza is probably being crushed right now inside their house.

I hope this for you because I want you to be a person of compassion, not indifferent to the suffering of others.

This horrific massacre was not an inevitable outcome of the previous massacre. This was a deliberate choice of revenge, a choice to destroy anything and everything. That is not something any person of faith should find justifiable. Killing 8,000 children is never the only option.

So, I hope that at the very least, you feel grief. I hope you feel regret.

I hope you want it to stop – now. Yesterday. The day it started.

Because nothing about genocide is okay. And genocide happening on Christmas – if we are human – should absolutely break our hearts.

My prayer for you, to have a bit of a blue Christmas, is not out of malice. I just want to believe that Christ-followers around me are not indifferent to the suffering of others. Take a moment to confirm that your heart is in fact beating.

Have a look at this video – and below it, have a look at other posts about the situation in Palestine and Israel.


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About Kathryn Shihadah
I was raised as a conservative Christian, and was perfectly content to stay that way – until the day my stable, predictable world was rocked. A curtain was pulled back on conservative Christianity, and instead of ignoring the ugliness I saw, I confronted it. I began to ask questions I never thought I’d ask, and found answers I’d never expected. Old things began to fall away, and – behold! – the new me has come. What a gift to be a new, still-evolving creation. I found out that it’s better to look at the world through Progressive Lenses, with Grace-Colored Glasses.  You can read more about the author here.

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