WHATEVER YOUR FAITH, WHEREVER you are in this world, best wishes to you and yours for the season and in the coming year.
In that spirit, I thought I’d share this – from the International Herald Tribune:
By Damien Cave
BAGHDAD: Inside the beige church guarded by the men with the AK-47s, a choir sang Christmas songs in Arabic. An old woman in black closed her eyes while a girl in a cherry-red dress, with tights and shoes to match, craned her neck toward rows of empty pews near the back.
“Last year it was full,” said Yusef Hanna, a parishioner. “So many people have left — gone up north, or out of the country.”
Sacred Heart Church is not Iraq’s largest or most beleaguered Christian congregation. It is as ordinary as its steeple is squat, in one of Baghdad’s safest neighborhoods, with a small school next door.
But for those who came to Sacred Heart for Mass on Christmas Eve, there seemed to be as much sadness as joy. Despite the improved security across Iraq, which some parishioners cited as cause for hope, the day’s sermon focused on continuing struggles …