Jeff and I are both officially done with the semester! Jeff turned in his last papers this morning and I sat for my last exam on Monday. We celebrated at a brand new bookstore in town, complete with fancy library ladders, where I bought a book on the Arab Uprisings. The irony is not lost on me.
In the midst of our studying, I let blogging slip a bit. We had a wonderful time in Germany and I wanted to share it. But honestly even more than being preoccupied with our reading, every time I sat down to write it felt like details of our privileged lives trivialized the injustice unfolding at home. It is a rather strange thing to be both fully immersed in American news and so far removed from it. Social media allows us to see the protests and to share in real time updates, palpably experiencing the rage of those on the ground, yet here the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner are passing conversation topic. The non-white population of St. Andrews, of Scotland as whole is strikingly small and while class and race and immigration are not non-issues here, the absence of large scale systematic oppression certainly changes the nature of race relations. We attended a prayer service led a one of Jeff’s colleagues, a Black Anglican priest whose writings on these issues are much more important than my own (https://esaudmccaulley.wordpress.com/author/esaucolleen/), a small group of Americans gathered together to do all we could far away from the protests, and the boycotts; mourn with a friend. I certainly do not want to personalize in any way the injustice suffered by the Black community, injustice perpetrated by a system that continues to privilege me, despite post-racial rhetoric, but I did want to stop and say that in the midst of our studying and our traveling what is happening at home is still at the forefront of our hearts and minds.
As we live in the midst of Advent, as we wait for a new heaven and new earth, working against injustice in whatever way we can, we put our hope in a day when injustice ceases and redemption is complete. But until that day comes we celebrate Christmas and the arrival of a Son who mourns with us like a friend. We celebrate Christmas even when the darkness seems to overcome us.
This year we got to celebrate by traveling to Germany to experience their world famous Christmas markets with new friends. It was wonderful and we are so lucky to have such an incredible trip. My parents arrive tomorrow and there will be even more celebrating. And so because we live in the midst of both/and, both joy and grief, I leave you with pictures of us in Germany for Christmas and look forward to the day when justice and peace for all is not so far out of reach.