Friday, December 25, 2009

A day like any other...

I’ve spent Christmas away from home before. But I’ve never been in this small room, in this house, inside these four stone walls, along this dirt road, just off the beaten path, in a third world country in Africa. A country that celebrates Christmas on a different date and in a much different way. When you take away the trees, the stockings, the lights, the plastic yard figures, the music, the candy, the reindeer, the jolly man in red, the huge amounts of food, the family gatherings, the egg nog, the gifts, the plays, the traditions and the count down calendars…..yes, all the STUFF that we add to make it Christmas….well, it becomes a day like any other. I would have never known it was Christmas except I have a ten year old who wouldn’t let me forget! I love Christmas…maybe a bit too much…which is no doubt one of the many reasons I’m here. I awoke to a strange sound…but it wasn’t footsteps on the rooftop…it was the daily 5am Muslim call to prayer…than another familiar sound woke me at 6am…the sound of the handmade broom sweeping the courtyard. There was nothing magical in the air….there was no reindeer poop on the steps outside…it was just Friday. When all the STUFF is taken away….we are left with the one thing that is not of this world….Jesus…and our relationship with Him. With everything else removed, I could focus on Him and truly celebrate His birth. It should be like this every day. I spent some time this morning holding “H”….a beautiful 8 week old (we’re guessing)… who was found about 3 weeks ago laying in the dirt on the side of the road…I bet Jesus likes this story…He can probably recall the taste of dirt on His lips as an infant. I know His plans for “H” are glorious. I thought about how today for her was just another day to survive…another day waiting for simple things… things every child should have. I looked at “M”, “A” and “D”… a young girl and her two little brothers who watched their mother die from AIDS and than lost their father in a tragic accident….they know loss…they know hunger… they know poverty …they know what it’s like to be left at an orphanage by their only living relative. Today for them was just another day to survive. A day longing for a family…the comfort of their own bed …a promise of full stomachs every day. There were no visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads. But I’ve seen 7 year old “D” praise the Lord with pure abandon…they still have such hope….and joy …and they have no idea what a stocking is….much less a candy cane. I think with Christmas we are trying so hard to produce joy…to create magic …and to make others happy. What I’m realizing is that there is tons of joy all around me …all around each of us …if we’ll just look for it. I know now that I’d rather find Jesus in an unwanted child than in a plastic manger. I’d rather taste the sweetness of orphan kisses over a Snickers bar any day. God is working on my heart …on this day…just like any other.

6 comments:

misslynda said...

Kelly - - - I so agree with you about the trappings. My library staff and I felt this a couple of weeks ago and prayed that all the "obligations" of Christmas wouldn't dampen our joy for HIM. Worship often seems easier any month of the year other than December. December can make a person tired. There is so much excess and often another party is just an excuse for us to have fun rather than to honor HIM! Aside from all the trappings of commercialism we have attached to Christmas, I PRAISE GOD we have a reason to celebrate for the eternal difference HE made in our lives and hopefully the lives of those we touch in HIS name!
Love,
Lynda

ReSoNate said...

Very eloquently expressed. Merry Christmas to you. Thank you for laying down your life to care for the orphaned children. As a future parent of one (or two), I thank you.

Tracy said...

That would totally be my dream Christmas! I truly can't take 'produced joy' anymore--- thank you so much for sharing your beautiful Christmas!

Ashley said...

Thanks for your blog. So glad I found you. We just came home with our Ethiopian son in Nov. When do they celebrate Christmas there?????

Ashley Catlett in NC

The Fab 4 said...

Jesus tasting the dirt.. that totally got me. Please go and hug each one of those children another time for us. Oh to have them at my house to shower them with love a million times a day.

Savannah Paige said...

Ms.Kelly...thank you SOO much for this post it was such a blessing!! thank you very very much!! praying for you all!! many blessings,Savannah