Thursday, December 13, 2007

Who We Were and Who We Are

I have kind of been avoiding my blog recently. It seems like this time of year we get so wrapped up in shopping and office-partying and baking and decorating that there isn't much time to think about anything else.

This time of year I really long for the Advent of my time in Cameroon, when the only sign that Christmas was even approaching was the (daring!) Christmas music playing softly in the background at Nziko's store. I spent two years living in a place where more than half the population, being Muslim, were not interested in the coming of the Christ child. To me it seemed more like what the original Christmas must have been like--nobody was waiting for that little, helpless baby to arrive. Nobody understood what it was all about, or who he would ultimately become, or where he would end up. Nobody could have guessed about the horrible way his life would end, or the mysterious and miraculous way he would return. Nobody knew that he was here, ultimately, to offer us the greatest gift we never knew we needed.

I have become so hesitant to share stories of my experiences in Africa because I have learned from experience that people don't really want to hear what I have to say. They want 30-second easy answers to their so difficult and complicated questions. The truth is, there are no easy answers. The truth is, I can very distinctly divide my life into two very different eras: who I was before I went to Africa, and who Africa has made me into. I am not who I was, nor will I ever be again.

I wish that during this time of waiting for the Christ child, we could seek to understand the way this lowly birth changed our world forever: two distinct eras; who we were before Christ's arrival, and who Christ has made us into. We are not who we were, and we never will be again. I only hope that we do not hesitate to tell the world this story. They may not want to hear it, but they need to.

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