Family Christmas

There’s no vocabulary
For love within a family, love that’s lived in
But not looked at, love within the light of which
All else is seen, the love within which
All other love finds speech. This love is silent.

T.S. Eliot

Indeed, I don’t really have the words to explain how special it was to have six family members, ages 6 – 68, come halfway across the globe to celebrate Christmas (and my birthday) with us. Mostly I felt gratitude that they would come so far and make such an effort. We loved sharing some of what we’ve learned about Jerusalem, and exploring new places together. It was an honor to be part of my niece and nephew’s first trip abroad (the first of many, I’m guessing — they were both phenomenal!). We did all kinds of stuff….

– visiting what my nephew calls “Mr. Christ’s” birthplace twice — 12/23 and 12/24 — and enjoying the contrast between peaceful Bethlehem and outright pandemonium
– singing Christmas carols in a 12th century Crusader chapel
– watching an Armenian priest post for 100s of tourist photos in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
– being thronged by schoolchildren just getting out of school on the Haram al-Sharif
– floating in the Dead Sea
–  exploring the Old City from the top (Ramparts Walk) and the bottom (Western Wall tunnels) and everywhere in between
– touring the Occupied Territories with ex-IDF soldiers on a Breaking the Silence tour
– doing hand made puzzles at the crafts market in Tel Aviv

All of these were amazing adventures, but I think my favorite memories from the week were of the ten of us, just hanging out. We are so very lucky.


About hilarymead

Taking two young kids, a great husband, and a whole lot of questions to Jerusalem for a year's sabbatical.
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4 Responses to Family Christmas

  1. Lindsey says:

    That TS Eliot passage is one of my very favorites…. It was special beyond words for us as well. Thank you for everything. xoxo

  2. Launa says:

    Love love love this post. Merry Happy New Birthday Year.

  3. Margaret says:

    Love the TS Eliot! Love what you wrote about your family. Love imagining you all together. (Our first year in Germany, my family did the same thing, we all gathered abroad. Not the same as Jerusalem, but still an amazing experience to be all together, for Christmas, halfway around the world.)

    AND! Happy belated birthday. My poor Madelyn may end up scarred because I keep telling people she was born the 28th. (Her birthday is really the 29th.) When Chris corrects me, I say “Oh, yeah. The 28th is Hilary’s” as though that explains my spaciness on my own kid’s birthday. (And, for the record, I sometimes accidentally list or say my birthday one day off as well. What is WRONG with me?)

    Huge hugs to you!

  4. Ben says:

    Wonderful to lay eyes on you guys, if only for a few minutes and by way of internet. what a great xmas!

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