I imagine Massoud Hossaini, who took the photo, may be honoured with a Pulitzer Prize for this image. It appeared in the New York Times this month, following coordinated bombings in Afghanistan. You can read the story here.
What to say? I think this photo exemplifies the value of photo-journalism. Where words are utterly insufficient to describe the emotions invoked by such an image. The gut-wrenching response my fingers cannot find on keys. The excruciating pain of a girl who looks to be the age of one of my boys.
These people, these families, were marking the death of a man, a Shiite Islam martyr.
I, with my family, am about to mark the birth of a baby, who came to save the world.
I can understand so many looking upon this picture and denying the existence of a loving God. Absolutely understand. But I know He is real. That He does love. More than we can comprehend. That he is grieved too, for we are His people.
This is not how it is supposed to be. Tragedy. Pain. Grief. Suffering. Christmas was the redemption plan. The solution to the mess we have caused.
Trumpets sound, and angels sing, listen to what they say.That man will live forever more, because of Christmas day.
('Mary's Boy Child', Jester Hairston)
We must remember that not everyone is wrapping gifts, baking star shaped biscuits, and preparing table settings for family and friends.
As I gaze at our Christmas tree, lights shining bright, my heart is heavy for all of the darkness in this world. For this girl in green, amongst the red. I can only pray that all those suffering now will find hope for eternity. In the simplicity of a babe born in a manger. That the peace which evades them on earth, will be found for eternity.
For this is what is to come, when Jesus returns:
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4
Do you have that hope?
- Photojournalists, in horrifying situations. Telling the world.
- A star over Bethlehem. Telling the world.
- Candle lit every night, reminding us of our need for light in the darkness.
- A stolen phone - opportunity to show my boys we can "give thanks in all circumstances".
- Praying for those who 'hurt' us.
- Reading my son's gratitude list.
- An invitation for Christmas lunch.
- Counting down sleeps.
- My man, home.
- A surprising parcel of Haigh's chocolates - with the aroma and taste of home.