You say your name like Shem — and I sat mesmerized, watching you and our farm girl at the airport last week.
I am not ashamed to say it, Sham — I couldn’t take my eyes off the miracle of you, Sham.
You, with your beautiful Syrian features and mile wide smile, and our girl with her fair Dutch blonde hair and blue eyes, you both on North American soil, waiting together for another wide-eyed flight arrival from the Middle of the World.
Waiting this time with us, right beside us, to be part of the welcoming, to be part of the meeting of yet another family fleeing the horror of Syria — another Syrian family who would huddle their battered and scarred way to the healing embrace of our farm town that’s smaller than a blink.
But we didn’t blink. We didn’t turn away.
You’ve flashed before my eyes a million times this week, Sham, your laughter haunting my nights.
You see — you might not have been here, Sham. Aleppo could have ate you in its hate.
That’s all I could think: Our girl might not have ever wrapped her arm around your shoulder and laughed too loud, you and her both throwing your heads back and swallowing down the hope of the world.
And your home of Aleppo has became the mouth of a monster, Sham. A monster that devours indiscriminately the dreams and hopes and years and future of 11 year-old-girls.
And you, Sham, our Sham, you could have been buried in the rubble. You could have been left bloating blue and pooling away in the bloodied streets. You could be one of those bagged in the widespread civilian carnage. You could have been the face of a kind of modern-day holocaust.
You could have been smattered with a hail of gunfire, your limp body could have been dragged before a doctor who kneeled weeping before you with not any way to save you.
You’re just a girl, Sham, just a girl standing on the edge of the world — begging with all the others:We’re just kids, kids in Aleppo, standing on the brink of the world, asking the world to let us live.
How is that too much to ask?
Yeah — I know it’s Christmas. I know we’re all about lighting the tree and the candles right now, not bombs lighting the sky and the bodies of screaming children.
We’re all about saying yes to our kids right now — and there are kids in Aleppo who need all of our yeses right now.
Because for such a time as now, we are all Esthers living in our own kind of warm and safe palaces, Esthers called to risk everything for those bleeding and dying and crying children outside the gate.
Because it’s incomprehensible, Sham, that we all live in our collective home of earth and co-exist together — while children are being shot in the streets, we just quietly go about picking out gifts to wrap for underneath our trees.Jesus hung on The Tree & died of compassion — which literally means He died of co-suffering. How can we live anything less?
What ‘s happening right now in your Syria is a humanitarian tragedy of historical proportions, Sham. Like Rwanda. Like Bosnia. And our world, we all said: Never again.
But… This is how “never agains” happen — when we happen to do nothing yet again.
We’ll never learn the lessons of history — if we fail to act as agents of change in the story now.
Sham — we can do this.
We can look you, the kids of Aleppo, in the eyes right now and do just these 3 things:
1. Donate to Relief Efforts:
All of us, our little community here, we showed up last week enforce, and together we’re feeding 25, 000 fleeing Aleppo citizens a day — until Christmas Day.
So can we dare together to live #TheBrokenWay & live broken & given, like bread — and keep the meals going the day after Christmas, the week after Christmas — because this is how we LIVE Christmas.
This is how we give to Jesus — Who brings us Christmas — and asks us to GIVE Christmas.
2. Support Global Refugee Efforts:
If we say that we stand with Christ — now is the time to stand with the fleeing.
Because the Christ Child who came to this pale blue marble in the cosmos, He was the Child who knew violence and fleeing, who knew bloodshed and bodies of children laying in the streets, and how can we celebrate Christmas and not stand with the refugee — because that is exactly what Jesus was?
Now is the time, the world needs you to stand as one of the 10,000 people needed to take a stand with the refugee by January 20, 2017 —
3. and be one of the ones who Welcome, Jesus, the Refugee:
How but for the grace of God go I — go all of us?
Our children are breaking in Aleppo and there isn’t one of our hearts that shouldn’t be breaking too.
I knelt in front of you at the airport, Sham, and I asked you about your name, where does the name Sham come from? And you said, “Sham. What we call Damascus in Arabic — Sham.”
And I nodded slow.
And I touched your cheek, Sham.
If the world doesn’t have have a conversion experience on Syria’s Damascus Road right now — our love is a sham.
We are all Saul right now.
And Syria is this world’s Damascus Road — and if we don’t convert from our indifferent ways to make a difference — how can we say that we’ve ever encountered Christ?
Look me in the eye, Child of this world.
Too often we have wondered how history’s atrocities took place & no one took their place to change the story.… now we know.
Not on our watch.
I watched my daughter touch your shoulder, Sham, and you leaned in, rested your head on her and I felt a conversion in that moment, Sham.
The miracle of Hope converted me, Sham — and this believing in change and hope and waging peace and warring with love — this wasn’t a sham.
Not for one holy, advent moment.
Love came down to change the world through us and this feels like the truest, realest gift a heart can ever feel.
All those whose Love isn’t a sham