In accord with a “sleep in heavenly peace” tradition of mine, I fell asleep last night and will fall asleep tonight (Christmas Eve) and tomorrow night (Christmas Day) listening to some of favorite Christmas songs, in the glow of a laser cut photo of “my kids from Beit Jala” on the dresser across the room.
My iPod’s strange bed fellows include Bruce Cockburn, Celtic Woman, Cincinnati Pops, Hayley Westenra, Josh Groban, Kathy Mattea, Roisin Dempsey, Sissel, Tine Thing Helseth, The Roches and Becky Kelley.
Eventually the music stops, but the kids light up my entire night, as they light up my every Christmas, as they have lighted up my whole life. Nine years ago, Issa, Mary, Ranim, Tamara and Tamer came as 8th graders from Beit Jala (Bethlehem) to visit us here in Milford. They have returned home and have already graduated from college. But they remain forever in my heart, and will always be “my children” to me.
These children, okay, these young adults, still have their homes in “the little town of Bethlehem.”
With the seven hour time difference, and with all of us being Christians, and being at Mass and with family, it is difficult to make connections by phone. But I will try. I might have to leave a message for Mary. I hope to make contact with Joseph, who is Ranim’s father. I must … I have to talk with … or at least a message for … Issa. “Issa” is “Jesus” in Arabic.
How can I let Christmas pass, without being in contact with Issa, Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem?