|Ariella enjoying homemade peppermint stick ice cream.|
|Zoe eating it too! A friend brought us candy canes from the US to put in it!|
|I forgot to take a picture of Zach eating ice cream. Here he is with his hands in bandages and socks with thumb-holes (for sucking). I'll explain in a bit why his hands were bandaged...|
A note about firsts...
I have had "first" Christmases for quite a few years now:
2015 First Christmas in Nampa, Idaho, waiting for Zechariah to be born.
2014 First Christmas in Nashville, TN, waiting for my nephew David to be born and then actually being present for his birth.
2013 First Christmas in Nabire, Papua, Indonesia, in our new home there with 1-month-old Ariella.
2012 First Christmas in Sentani, Papua, Indonesia, where we were living temporarily. 1-year-old Zoe was oh-so-cute that year. Earlier that month I miscarried her younger sibling.
2011 First Christmas in Salatiga, Central Java, Indonesia while we were in language school. This was Zoe's first Christmas and I made cookies to bring to our neighbors and went to the city-wide sunrise service.
2010 First Christmas in Apple Creek, OH (not Daniel's first Christmas there, but mine). We celebrated with Daniel's family and had so much fun picking out a tree from a Christmas tree farm while it was snowing!
2009 First Christmas in St. Louis, Missouri. We were there preparing to volunteer at Urbana. This was also our first Christmas married.
So I have to go back to 2008, when Daniel and I were newly dating, to have a Christmas in New England. Time is just flying by! Every year since getting married I have celebrated Christmas in a different place!
And back to this year...
We had a quiet Christmas, mostly at home, after poor Zach burned his hands on the oven door on Christmas Eve (when we had friends over for dinner, of course). He was doing so well that we did venture out of out house to the afternoon Christmas service in the little building on our housing complex. Here is a photo I took after church...we have 6 babies (age 1 and younger) in our expat community right now. Zach is the 3rd oldest, the biggest/heaviest, one of 4 boys, and one of 2 Americans. Here they are with their dads:
|babies from L to R: Marie, Melody, Marc, Brett, Zechariah, Jesse.|
Christmas morning I enjoyed re-reading the Christmas story from the Jesus Storybook Bible, opening gifts (especially watching the girls open their gifts), and FaceTime with extended family. And we played with new games and started reading new books. It is easy for me to romanticize the Christmases of my childhood, and long for the excitement that I felt about Christmas as a child (and having other people do all of the cooking, cleaning, present-buying and wrapping, etc). Now at Christmastime I think a lot about how Mary may have felt, as Jesus' mom. And I think of the fear and awe that the shepherds felt and how truly good the news was that the angels proclaimed.
"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you; You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. ...Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." -from Luke 2:10-14
Christmas is about so much more than my family, my community, and the place where and ways that I celebrate. I need this good news of great job more and more each year. And this Savior is for all people! He is for me and for you, for the people who are easy for me to love, and the people who I struggle to get along with, for those who are generous and those who take advantage of others... He is for all the people. And I am grateful and filled with awe that God chose to enter my world-our world- as a poor and helpless baby.