21 December 2008

Not a creature was stirring.....

It sure is quiet here in Johannesburg. As the week progressed, the people handing out things (or selling things) at all the intersections dwindled to a few at each "robot" (stop light) and instead , it's been common to see many people walking down the roads with suitcases, heading for a taxi-van. Our familiar friends from the intersections we've found, have gone home, along with everyone else, to visit family for Christmas.
Emthonjeni is closed for the next three weeks. We tried to make plans with our friends in Zandspruit during the holidays, but Dekiledi is the only one who will be around (although even she and her husband are going to visit family for a few days). DK is coming on Tuesday though to help the kids and I bake Christmas cookies all day.
We have a beautiful, busy week planned.... the kids got invited to the amusement park on Monday with some friends - we are hosting a party on Tuesday night for the remnant, like us, who are in town, American family Christmas traditions on Wednesday and South African bbq tradition on Thursday with a team of college age students from England here with Oasis.
We miss Michigan. We miss family. We miss seeing Christmas decorations everywhere we go. We miss the Christmas cards, getting a peek into every one's year with brightly colored pictures and sentiments. After having just visited the states, we are keenly aware of what we are missing. But at the same time, it is good to be here. A paradox, I know. It makes for some complicated bedtime conversations.
But it seems that in the quiet we are recognizing that Christmas is more than tradition, it is the essence of Christ's love for us... the same Christ that carries us through our more difficult times, and celebrates with us even the smallest victories. The same Christ that calls us into a realization that it isn't even really about our difficulties or our victories or our snugly feelings when we sing carols, but about loving Him and following Him.
We have always focused on Christ's birth... over the years scaled way back on Christmas presents (this year, the kids are getting from us three presents- not three for each, but three together that are meant to be shared). We have decorated with God's creation of snow instead of Santa and reindeer. We have read the Christmas story and focused on Advent and given to others in need. Yet, it hasn't been till now, separated from the hubbub (that I do miss) that I have been able to realize the beautiful essence of the Christmas story. Christ came to Earth. And we, in our own small ways, get to celebrate Him and hope for Him and be filled with Him so we can give generously out of the overflow of His goodness and love and power.
Much love... and may this week you experience glimpses of Christmas apart from the decorations and celebrations... but in the quietest moments of your hearts.

1 comment:

  1. A-men. Merry Christmas DiCoccos. All of our love -
    Julie & Lil


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