Friday, 20 December 2013

one week 'til snow

A warm sunny greeting to all our friends in the snowy northeast U.S.!  As I sit here typing, we are in the home of the Seeley family, who we have introduced to you before.  Our washing machine has been broken for about 12 days now and we simply couldn't wait to do laundry any more!  Mindy kindly offered for us to come out and use her machine, so here we are.  Once again, God uses friendships to provide for all our needs.  This weekend Tim and Mindy will be playing the roles of Simeon and Anna tomorrow night and Sunday night in our Christmas presentation, "Hope Has Come."  Their sons Logan and Zach will also be busy on stage with worship team, choir, and narrator roles.  We are so thankful God has not only brought them to 21/7, but made them such active members of our church.  They will also be joining us at our home, along with the Moss family, for Christmas day festivities.  We will have a happy house full of 15 people this Christmas and we look forward to all the fun!

 Though it's Christmastime, we are in what we call "early summer" or "winter" by your calendars.  Early summer here delivers, on average, an 80 degree day, sunshine, and lower humidity.  Not too bad.  Unless you're hoping for the tradition of Christmas snow.  This is the time of year we have to work at creating our own "

Look what came all the way to Nassau!!
Santa's throne and the mall Christmas tree

festive mood" if we're going to fully engage in the joy of the season.   Though there are some decorations out and about town, mostly things look much the same to us.  Beach, ocean, traffic.  Normalcy for an island.   Slightly sad it is when reds and greens on Christmas decorations hung out-of-doors quickly turn to pinks and yellows due to the high sun exposure.  But with the constant sunshine, fading occurs.

Yes, fading occurs in our hearts too.  For all of us, right?  Whether we live in the tropics or the cold of North Dakota, the fervency of our love for God, our love for others, and our love for pretty much anything (except maybe...ourselves?) begins to fade with time if we're not careful.  Upkeep is necessary, though it may not sound very poetic to say so.  The damage of the intense sun here is something I had never really experienced before, having lived mostly in a northeastern U.S. climate.  At first,, it amazed me how quickly the sun could fade our clothes if left out to dry too long.  Beach towels have long ago faded from the vibrant pinks and blues they once boasted.  Bathing suits, with the added enemy of the pool's chlorine, fade very quickly here unless they are constantly washed out and hung inside to dry.  And in our frail human bodies, the intense sun also can dehydrate our systems and create a malaise in us, even with the best attempts at staying "watered."  Upkeep is necessary. I see how my love for right things can also diminish if I leave it unattended.  Daily time with God, reading his word and in prayer, are necessary routines for keeping love for Him alive and vibrant.  And thankfully, the time we've lived here so far has been full of that routine, even when all else fails!  Yes the only begotten Son does not diminish our vibrancy like the created sun.  He is life-giving and ever-replenishing us.

One week from tomorrow, the girls and I (Kristin) will travel to Butler, PA to spend two weeks with my parents.  This year a wonderful friend is helping to pay for this expensive trip, and my parents are paying the rest.  Since this is probably the hardest time emotionally to be on 21/7, with missing family and traditions, we thank God for providing this outlet, both this year and last.  While we are back stateside, we will get in some visiting with friends, much-needed shopping, and some relaxation time after our busy Christmas season at church.

May this be a blessed season for you as you reflect on the One who came, breaking the silence of centuries, to speak Life to His people.  Hope has come.