You know, I guess there would be lots of things to complain about today-- about how we feel being 8,000 miles away from our family on Christmas day. About how so many of our traditions just cannot happen this year. Or about how I am sweating when I wish it was snowing.
But, instead, I want to tell you some reasons I am rejoicing today.
- Five Christmases ago, Trica and I sat and wept in our living room because we felt so ready for kids and a family. Today, we had an exciting and sweet (almost) 5 year old with us and a little baby girl kicking her Mommy's belly excited to come out and join us. We are rejoicing.
- For the last 30 Christmases, I am not sure I thought much about the poor and the untouchables. Today, we are living among and near many poor, sick and less fortunate friends who are a special part of our heart, life and family. Our lives are less about us this Christmas than they have ever been before. Davis even chose a few Christmas gifts that he just recieved today--that he wants to give away to some boys in Masi-- and he already knows who they are going to. We will deliver them later. We rejoice in this.
- Last week, we had the privilege of providing leadership for a massive Chritsmas party in Masiphumelele that impacted hundreds of poor children. They received lavish love like they likely have not all year. It was so neat to bless these kids and to see the Lord open the door for a local hotel chain to fund the whole thing. We rejoice about this. (See pic)
- Last night, I had the honor of providing leadership for a Christmas Eve gathering at the All Nations campus here in Cape Town. We sang. We worshipped. We told Jesus why we are so glad he came. We shared. We listened. We ate. It was sweet. Sweet to experience Emmanuel, God with us. And sweet to feel the love in the air. We rejoice that we get to be a part of such a brilliant community of faith. (see pic of candlelighting)
- Though we are far from family, Jesus has done what he promised us. Not only do we have the technology to make things way easier (see pic of us skyping the family yesterday), but he has blessed us ten times, even a hundred times for our faithfulness. We were with many friends yesterday. Many more today. I promise you, we have no shortage of loving relationships in our lives. In addition, Tricia and I just agreed that we have both seen more growth in our lives this year than ever before! God is moving and we are rejoicing.
We hope that you take a moment and name some of the many reasons you have to rejoice- regardless of your situation.
Merry Christmas from our hearts to yours. We love you.