We're sure you are busy preparing your hearts and homes to celebrate the birth of Jesus. We are getting ready here too and have had some time to reflect further on the incredible gift God gave us when He became incarnate.
Our new friends, the Fulton's, sent a Christmas package, the card read:
"Be sure of This - that I am with you Always... -John 16:22
His presence is the present that means everything."
That is simple enough, yet the truth of it rarely penetrates. We love our family, and miss them dearly, but we are coming to the place of realizing it is really not about holiday and family traditions. They are a wonderful part of celebrating, but not the heart of the celebration. The heart is Him. His presence is the present that means everything. Our geographical location or a break in tradition cannot mess with that truth.
Every few weeks, I will find myself in some odd situation and I have this flash where my little voice says, "What in the world are you doing here?" It happened last Sunday, Lisa needed a restroom. I was driving and pulled into a gas station known to have water and toilet paper now and again. I sent her in the direction of the bathroom, acutely aware of all of they eyes on me as I sat down at a booth to wait. On the TV was a soccer game in another language. Out the window there were UN tanks driving by and many vendors selling their wares. On the overhead speakers was a Creole radio station. At the front of the store was a tacky looking Christmas tree decorated with lights and bulbs. The air-conditioning seemed to be malfunctioning, the air was thick and smelled sour.
All of a sudden the foreignness of it all just hit me, and without warning tears were leaking out of my eyes as I sat in the booth absorbing my surroundings.
It is a sense that comes infrequently, yet always catches me by surprise, that says "you're not home." But, what surprises me more is how quickly it passes. A brief moment of emotion and it is gone as quickly as it came.
I don't know what to attribute it to other then being good with where God has me, and being at peace with it even when it is strange, and foreign, and feels far-far from "home." It is where I want to be. Smack in the middle of His will. His grace is sufficient to get me through the surprise onslaught of nostalgia and home-sickness. UN tanks and strange smells, being in another land where the rules are different ... God has equipped us to do this, so we'll do it until He says otherwise. His presence is the present that means everything.
We want to thank you for reading this goofy blog, for supporting our efforts here, for encouraging us, it has been cool to see the way God has connected us to new friends over this last year. We love you and appreciate you.
May your hearts be full of Christ this Christmas. His presence is the present that means everything.
-Tara for all of us
(We'll be back on the blog by Tuesday - Have a Wonderful Christmas weekend.)