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A Wedding for the War-Weary

This anonymous dispatch was written by a co-laborer reaching out to Syrian refugees in a nation not far from theirs.

There is a wedding today.

He is the son of a friend’s aunt I met months ago. She just came across the border recently. I’ve never met either of them, but I’ll smile in the photos of their big day.

There will be women – dozens of them – crammed into a tiny living room. There will be loud music and layers of mascara. There will be shaker belts and glittery velvet robes. There will be kisses – three times on the cheek – and the clasping of hands and shared looks that say, “I wish I could speak your language! We’d be great friends.”

They’ll laugh at my dancing. I’ll marvel at their hip-wiggles. I’ll sneak almonds from my purse (I learned my lesson after starving for hours at the last wedding!) and at some point a cup of water will make the rounds. Blessings will be shouted, babies will be passed from knee to knee. Headscarves and robes will be whipped on and off with a deftness that astounds me as her brothers or the groom himself come in and out of this ladies-only room to dance with the bride. A Facetime call from relatives still in Syria will bring smiles and waves and bitter tears.

We’ll celebrate and we’ll congratulate, but we’ll know. We’ll know that while we’re all dancing safely under a roof in no danger of being shelled, the homes of Aleppo have been reduced to honey-stoned crumbs.  While they nurse their babies in a room full of friends, the road that runs right past their village is crammed with ambulances and duffel bags and mothers with children on their backs traveling from one bombed-out city to another.

No one is dancing there.

And so we must dance all the more.

They’ll dance because they’re alive.  I’ll dance because I know there is another marriage supper coming that I desperately want them to attend.

We’ll dance for the bride, but we’ll also dance for her country. We’ll dance for that rubble-strewn graveyard of Aleppo and proclaim, “Today you are a desolate waste, but there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom.”

We’ll dance for those in the evacuation convoys, their feet tired and bleeding, declaring that there is rest for the weary, comfort for those who mourn, a haven for the terror-stricken, a home for those who weep because their homes are no more. We’ll dance for the bastions of the Black Flag, for those in the prison of its dark shadow, proclaiming freedom from the curse and the coming of the Prince of Peace.

They’ll dance because they’re alive.  I’ll dance because I know there is another marriage supper coming that I desperately want them to attend.

And today, in this last week of Advent, in a room thick with traditional tongue-trilling and babies crying and shouts of “Here comes the groom!” my own heart will cry out one of the few words I do know in Arabic:  “Taal! Come!”

Come, Lord Jesus.  And come quickly.

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