Silent night

Another postcard from the land of grief

They celebrate Christmas here too, it would seem – just as they did in the place where I used to live. To find old traditions here is reassuring. The sound of familiar carols is good –  like a snatch of your mother tongue heard on a foreign street. Old tastes and smells are here too – as if imported effortlessly across the border. When savoured, though – they turn out to be not quite as you thought. Sweet tastes turn bitter on the tongue here, and warming scents can chill the heart.  In the midst of celebrating the presence, an absence stands out all the more. Chirpy melodies sound shrill, as if played on a strange instrument for which they were not written.

And yet, here too I find the fragile baby – all but alone in a place where he scarcely belongs. He is loved, of course – even adored. He is cared for and nurtured – but he does not belong. This is a foreign place, to which he was propelled by love.

On this silent night, where no greeting can be exchanged, I am grateful for the presence of one who did not belong.


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