I recently had the chance to visit Iraq. Yes, Iraq. Iraq is the ancestral homeland of my father and my grandparents from both sides. We had the chance to visit the formerly bustling villages in the north, where Christian Iraqis hail from.
It was a very powerful trip to the ancient biblical land of Mesopotamia (the land between two rivers), the Tigris and Euphrates. Those rivers, which once roared, are now only a pittance of their former selves—having been dammed from the north by Turkey and Iran.
The church in the village of Telkaif, the birthplace of my father, has been rebuilt but is, essentially, lifeless as Christians were forced to abandon their homes. The cemetery where my grandfather was buried has been destroyed by ISIS. The town seemed to go back in time a couple hundred years.
I was able to capture a picture of two young boys. There was a sadness in their eyes. They seemed to know that we were from the other side, somewhere better that they heard about. They were happy to pose. Simultaneously, they stood up, put their arms behind their back, and looked straight at me. I thought selfishly, but for the wisdom and courage of my father and thousands of others like him who ventured with courage to America, and, but for the Grace of God, there go I.
Even with all tough times of the last couple of years, the stress, the sickness, the tough economy, difficult family, or work situations, we still have much to be thankful for. This Christmas Season let’s focus on all the positive things in our lives. There’s so much pain and strife around the world. We are truly blessed in so many ways.
With perspective, it’s easier to hang on to the things we value the most –our families, our faith, our friends, our livelihood.
With perspective, helping others becomes a priority. There is so much peace that comes from giving.
With perspective, important virtues remain top of mind—integrity, decency, modesty.
With perspective, joyful gratitude comes naturally.
‘Tis the Season to have some perspective.
NO TIME IS WITHOUT GRACE