We spoke Egypt living and Turkey adventures as we drove the highway connecting the two influential cities. We could taste the tantalizing foods of the middle east. Fresh juicy fruits, just baked warm bread, peppers with just enough kick, and tomato stuffed eggplant. While we sat in our steel carriage, in our minds we traveled the other streets filled with familiar sounds and people. Colors and trials alike filled our mind’s eye.
Then we halted in the present as we pulled up to the Mosque. It stood out like a sore thumb in all its beauty among the shiny structured towers. We covered our glory and removed our shoes as we entered into a room full of Pakistani friends and family of the beautiful bride who was sitting in the middle of the room. Her eye was ahead on her groom in the other room as she recited her vows. She was stunning in her baby pink Sari. Only after the ceremony were we allowed to intermingle with the men in the stunning artfully constructed area of the mosque.
Later that night we dolled ourselves up, mascara lining our eyes and legs showing modestly. We entered a room full of lively colors in celebration of the new couple. Some women dressed in the most bright of Saris and smiles, happiness emanating from their hearts and faces. The table where I sat added a touch of white and black to the sea of brown.
After a grand meal with spices that illuminated the senses, we danced the night away to lyrics without interpretation. I made eye contact with several people I never had spoken to but we were speaking the same language as we danced for the same reason. We did not have a need to speak formalities, for that moment in time we were family.
At midnight while I was jumping up and down waving my hands in the air and laughing at who knows what, a joyful American friend hugged me and shouted, “Merry Christmas”. I had forgotten it was Christmas Eve when we started our adventure.
What a way to spend Christmas being a minority, in the midst of the rich community of my Pakistani brothers and sisters. For Jesus came into a world on the fringes as a babe, humbly. Id gladly give up my tradition again to experience another’s tradition. He came as the greatest gift the world has ever known and not realized. He came to be the link, the networker, the connector. He reconciled us to the Father. His death birthed life giving connection between Heaven and earth.
What a way to end 2016 dancing those nights away to honor and celebrate a lifetime friend. But even more what a great beginning to the new year. This is the reason Jesus came to connect, to engage, to celebrate. But how often do I just dance it out, sing it out, celebrate with no agenda?
Here’s to more unconventional moments in 2017. May you not think you have to have the right moves, or shoes. Enjoy the barefoot random dance in your kitchen, in your living room, in your yard.
Life is worth celebrating, abundance is worth experiencing through the One who came to connect us to a Kingdom beyond our own. May we dance and celebrate more this year than any previous year.