We live in Mwanza, Tanzania, serving with Emmanuel International helping local churches in physical and spiritual ministry.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Advent Reflections

Decorating our Christmas tree
This year's run-up to Christmas has, so far, been very different: no crammed calendar, no mad shopping for presents, and no pressure to have this year's Christmas bling. Instead it's been do-it-yourself preparations - we've made an Advent wreath (each week we light a candle and have a service prepared by Amisadai), made a wooden stable for our nativity set, made our own decorations (we're very grateful to Tim's cousin Rachel, husband Paul and son Aaron for sending us festive craft supplies). Our gardener, Spedito, went outside our gate to chop the top off a conifer for our Christmas tree - can't get a fresher tree than that! He really enjoyed seeing the excitement of the girls as he helped them decorate it! In this season of waiting, we have enjoyed the gift of time! We've had time together as we've made preparations or as we read the Christmas story.

Last evening, we had the time for a leisurely Christmas party with our EI friends, Andrew, Miriam, Ben, Sam, Andy and Angela. The children enjoyed a treasure hunt in the garden. Then we shared a lavish meal, and all the cooks did a wonderful job. Games afterwards added to the fun, even if one or two did try it on! It's taken us most of today to clear up - including washing up without a dishwasher - but that doesn't matter, because we've got the time to do so and as we do can remember our fun time last night! We are also very grateful to have the water, and the electricity to heat it, now!

It's as if we've rediscovered the joy of Christmas. We're savouring every moment and we're looking forward to what's coming. We have our Christmas Carol Service on Tuesday evening with Amisadai, Louisa and Rachel all taking part. Before that we have the visit tomorrow of our friends Huruma, Kenny and Jimmy Nkone from Dar-es-Salaam. Our joy is in the time and simplicity - time together with people in an uncomplicated way. The first Christmas was very simple indeed, and this is what we are most looking forward to celebrate, hopefully in the same manner, where what's supposed to be in the background stays in the background. One wonders what Joseph and Mary talked about in the hours they had in that stable. Maybe they discussed the meaning of God's fulfilling his promise of sending a Saviour.

Painting decorations with Lucy
Our E.I. Christmas Feast

1 comment:

  1. Based on my recent food experience in Iringa, I'll bet that Christmas Feast was awesome and unforgettable.

    Christmas is better when we are not distracted from its real meaning. May God give you the best Christmas of your lives this year, and help you to feel very near to Him.


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