“They went their way, and the star which they had seen in the East went before them…” (Matthew 2: 9)
Dear friends and benefactors,
Being in the Middle East and seeing what is happening around us makes it hard to believe that our world is ready to welcome the Lord. The star of Christmas shines on us in our second year of exile to tell us how similar our world is now to the time when Jesus was born. The wandering magi who had lost their way are still there, but they are not only three – there are thousands of them. Herod who wanted to kill the innocents is still there, but he has become many. The Holy Family is still fleeing to escape with their lives, followed by many other families who are immigrating in all directions. And, Rachel is still weeping over her children who were stripped out of her arms, and she is accompanied by her neighbours whose grief just leaves us speechless.
Yet, it is still the star of Christmas that shines to show where the King of peace is born. It is in this world, and no other world where Jesus is born to be with us and for us.
The Lord comes unexpectedly, challenging our mentality and our expectations. He comes in our worn out world, even when the world is not ready for Him. He comes to our aid in times of weakness, pain, violence, and darkness in order to be close to us. He is always there, guiding the wandering people, accompanying those who flee, and wiping the tears of the weeping mothers.
Having confidence in Him and in his powerful presence among us, we dare to continue our journey with those who are left in Iraq, although nothing is clear about the future. News is not encouraging at all, and people do not have the capacity to think anymore. We ask your prayers that God may strengthen our faith, enlighten us and grant us His wisdom to discern in our reality despite all the difficulties and pressures we are living. How much enlightened vision and courage we need!
On this blessed occasion, and with confidence that the word of the Lord will prevail, I extend my greetings to all sisters, brethren, friends, benefactors, and organizations who have been accompanying us in our dark night. Thank you for being a guiding star that shows us God’s loving care. We believe that His light will tear through the darkness, and He will come down.
O Come, Lord Jesus. You are our joy…our peace…and our life.
Sister Maria Hanna OP Dec 2015