So, it's Christmas Eve night, and I'm cozied up on the couch in the sala with a nice hot cup of coffee, just the way I like it with some powdered Alaska in it (you'll know what I mean if you live in the Philippines) and I'm doing what I do alot these days, reflecting and remembering and just pondering.
Back in the US, every Christmas Eve, we would wake up and go have Christmas Eve breakfast at my Grandma A's house, then that evening when we came home from Grandma and Grandpa's house, we would have a quiet settled family Christmas, just me, Momma, Daddy, and Bub...this year, that is all quite different. Here in the Philippin*s, Christmas Eve is a party! It's almost 11 pm and there are still very loud fireworks going off, I've had texts from friends who are feasting now, and some of those here at GH are in the next room screaming at the TV playing wii, planning on staying up all night.
The difference makes my mind reel...Christmas Eve to me is a quiet peaceful relaxing time, and here I am, relaxing and peaceful in the midst of partying buzzing nation.
Everything is still so new to me, this whole new world that God has brought me to, this all-new life. I can look and see the life that I would've planned for myself, and this life that God has given me is so much better... it leaves me speechless. I know exactly what I would be doing if I had planned my life, and yea.. it would be ok, but God's plans were so much greater! I'm soo soo thankful that He stepped in and took control of my life, that He loosened my grip and lifted my control.
This life is raw... there is literally life and death every day here. We have a baby less than a week old sleeping in the next room, life. Then a few days ago, we got word that one of our kid's siblings in a near-by squatter community died during the week.. simply from dehydration, death.
This evening we went to a Christmas Eve service, and the speaker spoke about how unlikely the words Merry Christmas are, how they don't really go together at all. Merry meaning happy and Christmas, the mas part meaning the death of Christ. So it's like being happy about the death of Christ.. how it doesn't seem to fit..yet through God's plan it does fit. We celebrate the birth of Jesus this time of year, but we remember that He came to this Earth for one reason, to die. He came to die and take the punishment for our sin. ("So.. Jesus gots a spanking?!?!" .. you'll have to read through my blog to find the story that goes along with that quote! :) ). But that's exactly what we are doing, we are celebrating the death, we celebrate that He was born.. born to die.. for us.
I have a blog post that I'm working on, I've been working on it for a while, and I'm not sure when the right time will come for me to post it, but it's something that has been stirring in my heart for a while now. There has just been so much reflection and remembering in my life and mind lately.
Wow.. so the Christmas season is here!!!! Well, actually its been here in the Philippines for a while, Christmas songs and celebration starts as early as September 1 here... but oh how close we are now!!!
I'm getting used to the 'new feel' of Christmas.. the days of bundling up with cute scarves and gloves are far from me now for the time being... now come the new days of walking in the scorching bright sun to the grocery store on the corner for some cool refreshment. I was walking yesterday and in my head there is still so much clashing with the idea of Christmas time and the feeling of summer heat.
The songs that I grew up on being normal.. like White Christmas, Jingle Bells (talking about a sleigh in the snow), Let it Snow... all those.. are doing an excellent job of just putting a little smile on my face, as I giggle at the irony.. the thought of a white snowy Christmas here in Quezon City??? ... I don't think so. But.. back in Shep.. that's definately a possibility.. since they are already having snow days. Oh, how I miss the cold. I loved getting all bundled up, loved the pretty scarves, and pulling the gloves over my frozen fingers... but now I'm enjoying wearing a cute dress on Sundays, wearing short-sleeved shirts to do my Christmas shopping, and being able to walk down the street at any time because of lovely heat and sunshine overhead.
However, it simply goes to remind me, that no matter what your circumstances are, cold or hot, snow or sweat, that Christmas is still Christmas for only one reason. It is the time of year that we celebrate the mighty love of our Creator for us, by His sending His son Jesus to be born into this world. He came to simply give all, so that we might have life.
What a scarifice...for our simple human lives.
So, I pray that this Christmas season, you'll enjoy the blessings in your life that God has given you, but never forget the reason we celebrate. May we spend this time together worshipping our Creator and Savior and giving Him all the Glory.
It had been a long day. I was worn out, my body so tired and the allergy crud stuff had hit me again. I had been coughing for a while and now I was getting the lovely 'sniffles' today. I was getting the big kid girls ready for the party today. We had had a party yeterday and another party today for someone wanting to celebrate their birthday with our children. The girls are all running around their room deciding which clothes to wear and commenting on how some of them are wearing the same colors and deciding shoes and all of that fun girl stuff. I sat down on one of the bunk-beds and just watched them and just took the time to just sit for a minute. Sniffling still because of the allergies, I rested my head on the bunk-bed ladder while the girls were finishing up.
Ellaine comes and sits by my side on the bed, and put her arm around my back and lays her head on my shoulder.. "Ate Brittany...why? What's wrong?" I asked her what she meant... "Why Ate Brittany? Why are you crying???"
Oh dear Ellaine, I'm not crying sweetie, I'm just tired and I have some allergies, but don't worry about me, I'm not crying...this was my response to her sweet concern.
Not believing what I was truthfully telling her.. She looked me in the eyes and sighed and layed her head back on my shoulder and started rubbing my back "Don't worry Ate Brittany, it'll be ok. Don't cry." And there we sat, with her arms around me rubbing my back and holding me...
And something happened in that moment.. I remembered.. that's exactly how my mother used to do when I was young. Whenever we were upset, she would sit and just hold me and comfort me.
It seems on many days now that I'm out of the season of being comforted by physical arms. This past week I got a glimpse of that season for a few minutes... and I'm thankful.
I'm thankful for those few minutes. I'm thankful for that sweet girl. I think of her life, and all the trials and hardship she has faced in her young life.
...and I'm praying. I'm praying for her future and the future of all of the precious hearts I'm daily surrounded by.
At first I thought I was being comforted for no reason at all, but it was afterwards that I realized... I've missed that feeling. The feeling of another person just truly wrapping their arms around you and just comforting you. I'm grateful that the Lord sees my needs and my heart even when I am unaware...