I have an alabaster vase that produces a happy, satisfied smile every time I see it. I saw it in a dusty shop on the second floor of the Khan in Cairo with a friend, decided days later I would like it and somehow found my way back to the shop and bought the thing for $3 (18 Egyptian pounds). I bought one for my mom, too, and the owner threw in a tiny green onyx goblet for free. My bag weighed a ton.
The perfect souvenir, like a perfect sweater, usually doesn’t make itself known until months or even years later, when you realize that’s the piece you want to build rooms/outfits around. Elusive when sought, evasive when grasped–only time reveals their magic. Or at least their ability to remind you of the best of times.
Anywho, the point is this: I brought back a more typical souvenir from China–a head cold and a stomach bug. So instead of reveling in Christmas festivities, I’ve been popping illegal amounts of pseudoephedrine and curling up on the couch to catch up on my 80s and 90s movies between naps and frequent trips to the heated toilet seat.
Isaiah prophesied this about Christ in chapter 53, verse 4: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”
Christ didn’t stop at the physical pain, the shame, the agony, the spiritual abandonment. I guess that’s more to the Christmasy point than a bunch of parties anyway. Merry Christmas from Tokyo!