Through the tiny cabin window, everything, if he could recognize, was in white silhouette, painted by a recent blizzard. The serenity permeated the starry night. He could even sniff the cold and crisp air outside. The clear sky of sapphire traced the contours of the mountain range in distance. The Moon was up there in the sky, indifferently casting down the light that slanted the shadow of the leafless tree on the ground.
He withdrew his survey and turned around. Inside the room, it was just as bare and desolate. A small table, a chair - shaky and squeaking when he sat on it. He tried hard to infill his memory with what he saw around him. For the past years it was his home, while the villagers called it medical clinic. Sadly, in a few hours he would have to leave. Sighing, he finally decided to go to bed. He put on all his outfits, as he had given away his belongings to the villagers and packed the rest in a suitcase.
He came to this unique village in the Mid-Kingdom, where various ethnic groups mingled, Hans, Mongols, Uyghurs, Tibetans, etc. Inspired by martyrs before him, he came with a missionary fire and did win over some hearts and minds, he thought, but none of them with him now.
It all started about a few years ago, when a local butcher was selected by old oligarchy to be the Secretary General, which entitled him the second to none in power, but he wanted more elevating it to next to none in power. He was heavy build and talking tough. He wanted people under his rule just like meat under his knife. In great confidence, he alternated his iron fists with necessary elasticity, using his own words "stretching and releasing freely to my will", he bragged.
Recently, a mysterious plague spread everywhere. People became sick all of a sudden. The rumors ran viral that the virus had escaped from the slaughter house. Out of his xenophobia and paranoia, he wasted no time ordering the village to be locked down. His kindness was shown as saying "our top priority is to protect people and their lives." He blamed the outside world for the disaster and ordered any foreign influence and elements removed or driven out.
Down the chain, a Secretary Minor came to the missionary's cabin. He brought some converts with him and asked them to expose the crimes of the foreign devil. The poor missionary was shocked and scared, for these were his brothers and they were praying together not long ago. A strong sense of betrayal hit him so hard that he could say nothing.
Such attack pounded him one after another, till one day the Secretary Minor appeared before him again. With the pink mobs, young or old, behind him, he gave the order: "Go home, you imperialist!", Immediately, the mobs raised their fists and shouted hysterically "Down with the imperialists! Smash the imperialists to pieces!"
The final day came. At daybreak, he would leave. He shut his eyes tight in an effort to drive off his despair and loneliness. Shivering in bitter cold, he was overwhelmed more with deep despondence and self-pity. Then, he was suddenly struck by a revelation - it was one of the last days of the year. He sat up and took out his journal book, searching for clues to ascertain the date, only to find it was indeed Christmas Eve!
His mind was racing through the scenes of Nativity all the way to Golgotha: starry night, fully occupied inn, groaning Mary in labor, baby Jesus in the manger, kneeling shepherds, thorny crown, and the bloody cross.
He rolled off the bed and sank to his knees, sobbing violently, "Oh, Lord! My Lord!"
Christmas Eve, 2022