Feliz Navidad in Aramaic

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Language is a funny thing. There are people who spend decades of their lives studying its nuances, writing obscurely specific theses, and obtaining degrees in an attempt to grapple with the power of language, whether foreign tongue or native tongue. The ripple of sound across our tongues stemming from a wave in our chests, the song of words and the dance of language defines us; it marks us.

My husband loves to pretend that he loathes the song “Feliz Navidad,” due to hearing in on replay during his childhood trips to his mama’s Puerto Rico. He pretends to groan when it comes over a loudspeaker at a store, but I can see the curl at the corner of his mouth. He really loves it.

We were shopping the other day in a community thrift store that was very multi-cultural and he said, “It makes me happy to hear Spanish.” Of course it does. Spanish is the language of his mama, and it speaks to him comfort and love.

Back in high school when Passion of the Christ came out, I expected to be touched by the horrific images and dramatic music, and I was. But what conjured deep, happy tears and that take-your-breath-away surprised feeling was the fact that the actor was speaking Aramaic, my Lord’s native language. He was making sounds similar to those Jesus made. Never before had I experienced this.

I have read and been read the meaning of Jesus’ words my entire life, and I have seen the print of His words in red. But to hear them (at least close to) how He said them, for them to brush against my heart in soft and powerful strokes–it was a sweet gift. For those words, the ebb and flow, the pitch and tones, were the physical utterance of hope…to me and all the world. And it sounded beautiful.

Now, I am not promoting any sort of mysticism here, for it is the meaning of the words, not just the dialect in which that were spoken that matters.We could listen to or speak Aramaic all day long, but our repentance, love, and obedience to Jesus is what He wants. But there was something about hearing His words as He spoke them. My soul heard its original hope.

The language spoke to me comfort and love.

So whether your native tongue is English, Spanish, Japanese, or Vietnamese, know that He can speak comfort and love to you. Surrender your life to Him.

Feliz Navidad and Merry Christmas!

Keep the Faith,
Audrey Ann

Credit: Linguistic Drawing by Minna Sundberg found at  Mental Floss

Advent and the Blahs

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There’s a lot going on right now–wars and rumors of wars, not to mention the churning in my gut and the straining of my nerves. Our reality is shifting, sliding, changing. We are in the process of moving from our sweet island home. And while I am so blessed to spend this transitional time with my darling great aunt and uncle in South Carolina, I am still struggling to grapple with it all; I am straining to waltz rather than wrestle with all the newness.

The holiday sparkle is different this year, not gone, just different. All my ornaments are packed away in who-knows-which box. A bunch of them are lying on a Salvation Army store floor for 25 cents or so.

But even in the dull numbness of my heart, even in this white noise not yet pierced by Bing’s “White Christmas,” even in a world crumbling and shaking, afraid, pretending that it matters what a random celebrity did today–pretending it is all okay, Christmas matters.

It matters, perhaps, more than it ever did.

Decorating, baking, giving, these simple rituals when done for the King remind us that He came. This season of Advent causes us to remember yearning, that ever present already-not-yet tension in which we live.

This year on Thanksgiving I watched the Macy’s parade for the first time in years. It did not disappoint. One of the Broadway acts was from “Fiddler on the Roof,” and we watched as they sang and danced to the music in a minor key.

The Jewish people are known for their music being in minor keys. It has been said that the minor key is the key of nature, such as the wind rustling the leaves or the trickling of springs, all the earth is singing to our Creator in a tone of soft groaning, of anticipation, of hopeful waiting.

So this Christmas and Advent season, as we wait with songs of joy, not for a baby, but a glorified King, let us remember that this celebration matters. Do not lose heart, my friends. Make some hot cocoa, turn on some tunes, and throw a party! Our Guest of Honor is coming back.

Keep the Faith,

Audrey Ann

John Blase