Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas thoughts from the past

I was cleaning off a shelf and came across my journal from Bulgaria. Hope you don't mind if I share a few entries leading up to Christmas. Merry Christmas Eve!

November 22, 1994, Sofia, Bulgaria
We've been in Bulgaria 4 months. It seems like an eternity and just yesterday all at the same time.

Nov 28, 1994, Sofia Bulgaria
We've spent hours and days trying to obtain visas to no avail. Our option at the moment is to travel out every 30 days. For what purpose, Lord?...Lachazar says we are being watched, that we are on a list of undesirables. It seems even our own embassy isn't backing us. So now we have 14 people here - to do what? Play church, as Phillip says? I hope not! What seeds are we planting? I don't know.

Dec 5, 1994, Sofia, Bulgaria
Mark is in Romania for the 3rd day. God has given me strength to deal with life here on my own. This a.m. I took Angela to the tram stop while Tessa slept, and it went smoothly.

Dec 12, 1994, Sofia Bulgaria
Mark went to the passport office Thursday. He and Zdravka finally saw the head of the office. There was so much anger and yelling! But Mark and Zdravka felt as if they were set aside - looking on in a scene they were not part of - watching desperate people. No visas!

The city turned off the hot water, so showering is out of the question. The water is painfully ice cold. I suppose that's better than the alternative which was two days without water, one day with.

Dec 15, 1994, Sofia Bulgaria
Betrayal - interesting subject. Lucho's long time friend takes our money and papers, does nothing with the papers, but says he did - and takes the money. Still no visas.

Dec 23, 1994, Sofia Bulgaria
Just returned from a "visa" trip to Macedonia. Sort of a nightmarish trip with 3-4 hours sitting at the border - no toilet, people urinating and defecating along the side of the road, behind trees, dumpsters, anywhere with a little darkness. Why are we here if we can't get visas?...

But tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I am completely unprepared. Not many gifts purchased, no tree yet. Not even my heart is prepared to celebrate. I wept while sitting at the border last night - the indignity of it all! But you were born, my precious savior, in a stable! Mary was huge and uncomfortable. She had ridden on that nasty old donkey until she thought she couldn't go any farther. They stopped at inn after inn and no amount of Joseph's pleading would move the occupants to make room for his wife. They just said "no room" with eyes averted. Maybe if they didn't see the problem they wouldn't have to admit that their hearts were cold and unfeeling. Mary wept quietly as they trudge on behind Joseph's bent shoulders.

All she wanted was a little dignity - for someone to look her in the eyes, recognize her need, and help. But no one saw - no one noticed. It wasn't their problem. She finally slipped exhausted from the donkey, onto a pile of hay in a stable, the only place to get shelter from the chilly night air. Where were all the angels now with their lofty messages? Surely if this really was the expected Messiah there had to be somewhere better than this. There was no dignity here - no comfort - no help.

And yet, the Angels had to be there. They must have been waiting - holding their breath, waiting to explode with joy! Mary was too exhausted to know.


Stephen said...

Words fail. Ever think of writing a book?

Cari said...

Yep, I just don't know where or how to start.

Mark said...

What a bizarre trip to Macedonia that was. Sitting in the sladkarnitza with two little girls in Skopje with no place to stay. Then the Lord sent us our answer for the night. And all was good.

Shari said...

Thanks for sharing that significant time in the life of your family. You wrote it beautifully!

Angela said...

Meanwhile, in Skopje, Angela and Tessa amuse themselves by telling stories of Smoky the Bear who is hiding in the smoking dumpster behind our hostel.