Christmas is a time of year to remember what God did for us by sending his Son, but it is also a busy time of year, a time of buying gifts, making food, having parties, singing songs, and for me going to class. I was sitting in my class explaining to my teacher (who is a believer) that I wasn’t going to come to class the next day because it was Christmas Eve, to which he responded that he thought Christmas Eve was just a night thing. But he accepted me not coming, and I thought to myself about how busy I had been the past few weeks and how I still need to buy more Christmas gifts and how different Christmas time felt here then it does back home.
What I began to realize is just how easy it is to lose sight of why we celebrate Christmas and also how different people’s view of Christmas is here. Most of the people in my city have heard of Christmas but they don’t understand why it is important, as many view it as a Western holiday and tradition that has no meaning to them. The believers here know why we celebrate Christmas and they have special services on Christmas Eve and have parties, but still it is not the same as ours. I come to realize the local believers view on Christmas is more pure in a sense because they don’t have our busyness and gift exchange and commercialism mixed in as much, but, on the other hand, it is also less of a big deal to them.
I think I can learn from the local Christians here, and I think I appreciate our country’s roots in Christianity more than I did before. I know I need to keep my reason for celebrating Christmas more pure and about what God did for us by sending his Son, that it isn’t about doing things because it is Christmas, but rather sharing God’s love with others and thanking him for what he has done for us and giving him glory. In the end, I still miss Christmas back home, and miss my family and friends and having time of rest but I know I am where God wants me and that I learning more about the people he has called me to bring the good news to.
In other news things are going good here. My first semester of school is almost over and I have exams next week, which I am not worried about at all because they have no effect on my further study or why I an here. We are also getting ready to head to our annual retreat in Thailand next month and I am going to visit the capital on my there. It will be my first time to the capital so I am really exited.
This time will also be a time of reflecting back on how going to school has been and of planning for the future- both for us here and for all in my organization, so I would like you all to pray and ask God to give us wisdom about the future and what his plans are for each one of us and also for the organization as a whole.
Thank you all for you prayers and support!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!