Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Getting Ready for Christmas

Maybe this is something that you don't know about me - I am usually not extraordinarily excited to put up the Christmas tree and decorate for this very joyful holiday. Case in point - we finally put up our Christmas tree today with a little over two weeks until Christmas Day.  I was actually waiting for the kids to say something about putting up the tree before we lugged everything down from storage.

 Here are the kids going through all the decorations (yes, it's just that one plastic storage container).

 Finding the old friends from last year...

 I used to be worried that the tree had to look just right.
Now, I just let them put things where they want.

The finished product - then they were ready for homemade hot chocolate!

Even though I really do feel that I have adjusted very well (emotionally and spiritually) to living in Zambia, Christmas still is a bit difficult.  Not that I am incapacitated with grief but those twinges of homesickness do come a little more often the closer it gets to Christmas.  Maybe that is why I don't usually like to make a huge deal about decorating for Christmas because it is a little bit of denial that it is actually that time of year again.  

If you go to the major malls here in Lusaka, you can find signs of Christmas.  They have had their Christmas decorations up since October (with no Halloween or Thanksgiving holidays to interfere with the Christmas holidays).  You can hear Christmas music in the grocery store and my kids loved to meander down the "Christmas aisle" which is really only about half an aisle.  Yet when you go to find an actual present to give to someone, they seem about as elusive as Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket.  They are that hard to find.  Many, many thanks again to our team who graciously brought all the kids' Christmas presents in July!

I think that Christmas is more difficult for adult missionaries than it is for our children.  Most of our kids had a limited amount of time (or for some, none at all) in the States before coming to the international mission field.  We adults remember 20-30 years of American Christmases with the huge hype that goes along with them.  Now I have always believed that Christmas is not bought in a store (thank you Dr. Seuss) but my, oh my - when I was in the States, I didn't realize just how those Christmas lights, Christmas parties, Christmas cookies, and yes - even all the commercialism actually helped to get me into the mindset of celebrating all the holiday festivities.  When you don't have the world around you telling you that it is Christmas time, it really is hard to 'make' your own festivities.

So, when you think of your missionaries or maybe even as you are giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (hint, hint) - please remember to pray that peace and joy will truly surround us all as we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ this year.

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