Bird on a Bare Branch

Attempting to fling a frail song in my little corner of the world

No Christmas? November 30, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jen @ 9:20 pm

Last night I was told that Christmas is not celebrated in Mozambique – a vestige of communist times.  Apparently there is still a holiday in the country on December 25, but it is called Family Day.  Even the churches are only just starting to celebrate Christmas and don’t do anything for Advent.  Then those who actually do celebrate – the missionaries – are all celebrating elsewhere.  The Oasis office is closed for two weeks, and most people will be gone on holiday.  Not what someone who’s just said good-bye to her family and is in a brand new place wants to hear.

I was sad last night.

Then this evening I went to the home of an Oasis couple who were hosting an early Christmas party for the Christians in their neighborhood as people will start leaving on their holidays soon.  They had a little Christmas tree, tinsel on their doors, and twinkling Christmas lights over a window.  There were about twenty of us there, enjoying roasted chicken and turkey, Brazilian barbecued meat, roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy, salad, and a yule log for dessert.   To me it felt like another Thanksgiving rather than Christmas, but it was definitely festive.

Even better than enjoying a celebration tonight is that the couple hosting the evening (as well as some others) will still be here on Christmas day, so I will not be alone.


What Bird? November 15, 2007

Filed under: Faith — Jen @ 9:27 pm

The new blog is finally here. It took awhile because I was never satisfied with any blog names I came up with or that were suggested to me. At last a name was suggested that really resonates with me. Not because the name itself is particularly captivating – although I do like the image of a bird on a bare branch – or that it conjures up images of Mozambique or Africa, but because of what originally inspired it. My good friend Tom suggested the name. It’s a hand-me-down as it belonged to a now-dead blog of his. He originally took it from a poem by Jane Tyson Clement. I find this poem particularly beautiful, and is my prayer for myself and all my readers:

Bird on the bare branch,
Flinging your frail song
on the bleak air,
tenuous and brave –
like love in a bleak world,
and, like love,
with everlastingness.
O praise
that we too
may be struck through with light,
may shatter the barren cold
with pure melody
and sing
for Thy sake
till the hills are lit with love
and the deserts come to bloom.