It was my task to write something about the holidays and relate the meaning and experience of the holidays to the lives of our friends in the refugee camps. As I stare at the blank Word Doc, instead of the spirit of Christmas coming over me, what I get is this overwhelming feeling of déjà vu!
It just feels like I’ve said “this” already, and said it many, many times: “There are people that are suffering, and they are just like us. They are the victims of humanity’s most horrible crime, genocide. There is joy in participating compassionately in a community that extends across oceans and continents.”
Over the last five years, my experience of the holidays has changed drastically. It means a lot more…and a lot less. When I’m sitting with my kids and family, this alone is the meaning of the holidays. It has become a very simple and basic experience, where I don’t let the rest of the noise get to me. It’s about family and community.
For the few of you that read this, I ask for one simple holiday gift…or maybe two. First, write one sentence or a short paragraph, speaking directly to our refugee friends and post it as a comment. We will take these to camps with us on our next trip in the beginning of 2010. You have no idea how powerful it is for them to feel connected to you and to a community “out there” that is thinking of them and working on their behalf. Second, pledge to check back in with us in January. We’ll work together to make some serious noise and push our leaders to act decisively to finally bring peace, protection, and justice to Darfur and all of Sudan.
Gabriel for the SGN/i-ACT Team