Dear Ezra and Lian,
“We are close to Christmas. There will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes – all decked out – while the world continues to wage war. It’s all a charade. The world has not understood the way of peace. The whole world is at war.” It’s not often that I get to agree with Pope Francis about anything, but when he said that, I finally could. Of course, it took the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, notably on a nightclub, to make this real for him. He, along with most Christian leaders of the world had been ignoring the genocide happening in the Middle East. Churches razed to the ground, beheadings of hundreds of Christian men; rapes and forcible marriage of thousands of Christian women didn’t merit much comment. He had cared more about “Climate Change” than the destruction of Christendom in the area of its birthplace.
In 2015, I wondered how can we celebrate Christmas with no Christians? There will soon be no Pauls in Damascus, Sauls in Tarsus, Davids in the City of David (Bethlehem), Simeons in Aleppo or Assyrian Christians in Assyria. It actually has been going on for decades. Tens of millions of Christians have fled the areas surrounding where Jesus Christ lived on earth. Now it has picked up the pace and got a lot worse. Groups such as ISIL are openly purging Christians from lands where churches have been for nearly 2000 years. Even the US President had to comment that this Christmas that their church bells would fall silent for the first time in centuries. Yet, he himself has been silent. Only because of the ISIL-inspired terrorist attacks in San Bernardino has he been compelled to address this issue. Still he can’t use the word “genocide”. His administration has actively opposed it because it would compel the US government to take action. It could mean taking up the cause at the UN or establishing sanctuaries for those being wiped off the face of the planet.
To my great shame, our own Canadian government, for the first time in its history is about to abandon a just war. Our air force, has contributed a tiny amount. Only 6 planes to fight back against ISIL. Instead of making a significant effort, a vast majority of Canadians have given a democratic mandate to stop even that. We accept a few thousand Syrians as refugees and we pat ourselves on the back for being morally superiority. Meanwhile, the majority of these refugees were safe hundreds of miles from ISIL or never were threatened with genocide because they are not persecuted Christians, Yazidis or minority Islamic sects. The country that has in the past sacrificed proportionally huge numbers to fight back against Nazis, now runs away from an untrained army with no navy or air force.
In light of this, I had no heart in supporting the cultural celebration of Christmas. Putting up a Christmas tree, lights, and decorations seemed so hollow. Buying hundreds of dollars in Christmas presents supporting an economy that intentionally won’t support persecuted Christians seemed hypocritical. I didn’t think I could do it. Christmas this year was destined for a quiet observance. Watching Charlie Brown’s true meaning of Christmas would have been the most culturally relevant thing I could muster. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPhqMJpQsYQ My being part of the biggest commercial enterprise of the year, Christmas, the thought made me sick to my stomach.
Then, one evening, Lian was a sleep. I sat on the edge of her bed and watched her sleeping so peacefully. She had been so excited putting up Christmas decorations at Auntie Lisa’s house. She couldn’t stop talking about it. I gazed upon that cute little face with the chubby cheeks. How could I deprive her of some joy at Christmas? I already knew Mommy was going to be away in India at Christmas. Lian was crying on Christmas Day. She said through her tears, “Do you know why I’m crying? I miss my Mommy!!!!”
Sitting on that bed a couple months ago, I decided to do the complete opposite of all my natural instincts. I correctly guessed that with El Nino, that there would be no snow in Southern Ontario at Christmas. I thought we should go away. So I decided then to go to Florida. We are going to the most magical place on earth, Disney World or as Lian calls it “Dizzy World”. I really don’t have much Christmas cheer. I’m going fake it until I make it. This by far is the biggest, most expensive thing I have ever done for Christmas. One person called me a Super Dad. Another said, I was very brave. All I want to do is wish that you have a merry Christmas.