Tuesday, November 20, 2012

American Thanksgiving and A Jewish Passover Song in Cambodia

I love how this strange, cross cultural life of ours adds a special richness to our holiday season.

But I didn't always feel this way. Truth be told, the first couple years we lived in Cambodia I didn't even want to celebrate the holidays - they just made me feel further away from the people I missed the most. But each year Cambodia feels a little more like home and the people in our lives more like family.  I'm also discovering new, unexpected joy during the holidays.

This weekend I had the opportunity to participate in a group devotion at a leadership development class.  The devotion involved the Jewish song Dayenu, which has been part of the Passover celebration for over 1000 years.  Dayenu means, "It would have been enough for us."  The message is that each of God’s gifts are so rich, just one would have been enough.  Experiencing this pattern of worship with my class of almost 40 people, literally from all over the world, was very meaningful to me.

Here are a few lines of the song:

“If He had supplied our needs in the desert for forty years, 
and had not fed us the manna
it would have been enough for us!

If He had fed us the manna, 
and had not given us the Shabbat (the Sabbath day of rest)
it would have been enough for us!

After the song we were encouraged to think of verses we could write from our own lives. I wrote:

“If He had given Joe, 

and not Caleb and Logan,

it would have been enough!

If He had given my family, 

and not called us to see Him work in Cambodia,

 it would have been enough!

If He had called us to Cambodia, 

and not caused me to love Him even more, 

it would have been enough!

Help me never forget,
it was enough, 
a very long time ago.”

The words are simple but my thankfulness real.  Tears streamed down my face as I considered the worth of each gift from God. 

Working cross culturally has given me an appreciation for so many different ways to live and worship God.  Who would have thought a song for a Jewish holiday would add more meaning to my American Thanksgiving?  It has, and I am very grateful!

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