Monday, December 30, 2013

Eight for Mr. Eight



 

1.  Your deep brown eyes captured our hearts from the beginning.

2.  Your boundless energy never ceases to amaze us...even if it does overwhelm us at times.

3.  The world better watch out for the day you figure out how to make all of your imaginings a reality.



4. Your servant's heart and willingness to help others is a gift from God.  May He use it to bring many into His kingdom.

 

5.  Never stop asking BIG questions.  We have a BIG God and He has BIG plans for you. 



6.  Never doubt we love you and are so very proud of the young man you are becoming....




7.  Even if you insist on giving your mama a heart-attack...



8.  Happy birthday and parabéns to our fun-loving, energetic, tree-climbing, rope-swinging, hole-digging, always inventing, talkative, wonderfully creative, awesome big brother and son, Mr. Eight Year Old!!!


Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas With



There are many descriptive labels for our first Christmas in Mozambique… 

It could be described as a Christmas without…

visits with grandparents and extended family.

our closest friends.

peppermint candy canes and other tasty treats (like Nana’s jet candies).

wrapping paper (it exists here, but we never found it).

singing silent night at the Christmas eve service.

But moreover, it can be described as a Christmas with... 

Joy as our boys opened gifts long desired.

Laughter as we realized the buckets we put one of the gifts in were not going to open again without a serious struggle.

Worship as we spent a good part of the morning with our Mozambican church praying, singing and hearing about the precious newborn king.

Love and community as we celebrated the birth of a Jewish baby by eating Mexican food with our Canadian, South African and American friends here in Mozambique. 

 There are many ways to describe this Christmas season and daily I have had the choice as to how I would describe each one.  Honestly, there have been many days that my heart has focused more on the “Christmas without…” list.  The ache and longing for that which is absent overwhelming the fullness of the present.  

(It was interesting for me to notice that the days after Christmas (and Thanksgiving) were the hardest for me.  The celebrations I had joyfully anticipated had passed and my heart turned once again to the “without” list.)

Yet, even on those days as the Christmas without list grew longer and impressed deeper into my heart, glimpses of Christmas with shined forth as gently as the small flickering lights on our tree…Glimpses of a Christmas with peace, a Christmas with joy, a Christmas with fun and a Christmas with memories.   

For overwhelmingly Christmas at its very center and heart is Christmas with.  The story of Christmas is the story of the Ancient of Days, the very Word of God shining forth as Emmanuel, God with us.  

Christmas with us.

As I look back at our first Christmas in Mozambique, I might remember it some as a Christmas without, but far more I will describe it again and again as a Christmas with.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Once Again

 May the Light of the World...


Who came and filled that empty manger so long ago...


Come once again and fill our hearts.



Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year from our family to yours!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Reflections of Anticipation

Their faces look at me, puzzled at why we are gathered around the little birthday candle.   I try to explain how this candle represents hope, the coming of the Christ child, how it is part of our preparation for celebrating Christmas...and just when I think I have lost them, I see their eyes.

Their eyes shine bright, reflecting the flickering light of the small candle.

Their eyes shine bright in anticipation, excited about what is to come, expectations and questions about what all will we do during this season of preparing for Christmas...

"Will we get to make ornaments?" 

"Can we make a countdown chain? (Memories from years past.)"

"Can we make a manger out of popsicle sticks again?"

"Can we do the candle thing again tomorrow?"

And for a moment, in their excitement, I realize that they get it.

Advent.

Anticipation.

Excitement and preparation.

Readying our homes, but more importantly our hearts.

Advent.

A time of quiet, awe-filled whispers

Mingled with  joyful, lung-splitting shouts of adoration

for the One who is coming,

the One who has come,

the One who comes.

Yes, this is Advent...and yes, I think the manger out of popsicle sticks sounds like a great idea.
















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