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

Friday, 9 December 2011

Christmas Light

I love this time of year! The weekly Four Sundays of Advent, the daily advent countdown from December 1st and all the fun and reflection that goes with it. We are loving a daily advent calandar on our computer, sent from Laurena in Canada. Every day we find a new bit of the scene of London and enjoy the animated clip of the day! The girls love remembering the sights of London! We are enjoying all of our advent fun here in Tanzania. We have a perfect ending to our school unit on Light and Shadow as we talk about waiting in darkness for the great light! We have been looking at different religions and what a significant part "light" is to so many. We celebrated Hanukkah last week, something I realised I actually knew very little about! The girls are going to blog about that one soon, so I'll say no more! And now we can celebrate the coming of the Light to the world; a great climax for us as Christians!
Practicing carols for Advent
This week we have enjoyed a few days away with Andy and Angela, officially an EI retreat. It was a really good time of thinking about the future of our work here, and how we go about our work. We read and discussed a great book "Head, Heart, Hands: Bringing together Christian thought, passion and action" by Dennis Hollinger. It was fun being together and we enjoyed some relaxed time and some good food!
 
Wow! Steak!
 
And now, since our return, a large treetop brought in from the garden is decked with Christmas lights, in the form of the most pathetic fairy lights ever! These I found in town ... for a price ... and will be very surprised if they last until December 25th! Even Amisadai told me to quickly turn them off and save them for Christmas Day! But we also have beautiful candles made by the Consolata Sisters in the form of an Advent Candle (lines drawn on!) and an Advent Wreath.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
One of our verses at school has been Gen. 1:14-20 about God creating the lights in the sky. It is interesting as we decorate the house (thank you, Heather!) to think about God creating the world, decorating the world, hanging up the great lights in the sky. I have been reading Jane Williams' book, "Approaching Christmas" which reflects creatively on this thought. She includes a quote from John Donne which has added a rich perspective to our work on light and shadow, eclipses (of which there is one today!) and sun patterns, and the truth of the Light celebrated through Advent. I will finish with it here.

He [God] brought light out of darkness, not out of a lesser light. He can bring thy summer out of winter though thou hast no spring. Though in the ways of fortune, or misunderstanding, or conscience, thou hast been benighted till now, wintred and frozen, clouded and eclipsed, damp and benumbed, smothered and stupified till now, now God comes to thee, not as in the dawning of the day, not as in the bud of spring, but as the sun at noon, to banish all shadows; as the sheaves in harvest to fill all penuries. All occasions invite His mercies and all times are His seasons. ... 'God is thy portion,' says David. David does not speak so narrowly, so penuriously as to say God has given thee thy portion, and thou must look for no more. But 'God is thy portion' and as long as He is God, He hath more to give and thou art His, thou hast more to recieve.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds as if with many of the trappings of western Christmas no longer around you you're able to focus much better on the real heart of Christmas. We miss out on so much with all the commercial rubbish that surrounds us every time we go out of the house.

    I love that thought about God in creation "decorating the world". I've never thought of it like that before. Beautiful!

    We have a busy week of carol services and Christmas dinners to look forward to. Praying that we all remember Immanuel - the Light of the World as we do so.

    Love to you all & enjoy your Christmas tree!

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