Saturday, December 24, 2011

An Ideal Christmas?

A clean house, tasteful decorations (mostly made with the children), lots of special German Christmas-baking, food bought and prepared in advance, thoughtful gifts for family near and far, a Christmas-card/-newsletter, a lil creative program with the family to reflect on the meaning of Christmas, visiting and sharing of Christmas cookies with all of the neighbors, everybody relaxed, singing and enjoying ourselves together - including one or several people who don't have family.

That's what MY idea of a ideal Christmas would look like!


This year, like most it seems, is a FAR CRY from my "IDEAL" - and it bothers me.

And then, I think of MARY and try to imagine how she felt when she was giving birth to Jesus.

Talk about an IDEAL birth-day?


Traveling a FAR way by foot/donkey in the last days of pregnancy is definitely not IDEAL!
Giving birth in a town you've JUST arrived in
Where you don't know anybody
No family nearby to help out and give comfort - share the joy with
Getting turned down in place after place when you're sooooo tired
Having to resign yourself to staying in a dirty (may I add - undecorated) stable
Smelly (forget about the clean house)
NOTHING prepared for this MOST special baby EVER born - not even a bed to lay him in.



YET -  the less than ideal circumstances surrounding JESUS' birth didn't take a bit away from the awe-inspiring significance of his birth and what it was to mean for all of humanity - for eternity.


What a comfort for me today to keep perspective and don't allow my JOY to be damped!

I've got a little (almost 5-year-old) boy sitting next to me who is talking all the time (even now) about Jesus and how and why he came and died for us, sharing about Jesus with social workers, doctors and everybody we come across, singing Christmas songs all the time!

Shayden in between singing Christmas carols at our church's Christmas outreach - he was soooo adorable singing with great enthusiasm!!

I've got an 8-year-old who happily gives up most of her Christmas gifts so that orphans in Uganda can have a Christmas.

Miss Kylie

I've got a 16-year-old who's been serving tirelessly at "Christmas-Lights", an outreach from our church where thousands get to find out about the true meaning of Christmas, ministering every night for the last 11 days from 7:30pm-11pm+.

Leilani (with Kylie) in New York earlier this year

I've got a 20-year-old who just graduated from a "Leadership Training Course" with YWAM here in Tauranga, having grown in leaps and bounds, showing an exemplary servants-heart.

Jeremie with his girl-friend Austen (who's in Hawaii right now)
I've got an almost 21-year-old in Uganda who's just graduated from mechanic school. (sorry, no new photo of Richard)

I've got a 22-year-old, who with her husband just graduated from an internship in Christian Ministry with our church, both highly commended.

Nathalie, Lewis and our grandson Gideon

There are 33 orphans in Uganda who have just gotten sponsors from our church through a project I've been working on with our church in collaboration with YWAM in Uganda.
They will now be able to go to school, have some food for the family (widowed mother or other family), have minor medical needs covered and get to know JESUS!

Part of the display table for the presentation of the project
There are 16 orphans in a orphanage in Uganda who have just gotten "adopted" by little ones in our church (and their parents) for daily PRAYER - until they find a forever family.

An IDEAL CHRISTMAS? Not according to what my culture has taught me.

But according to the true meaning of Christmas - IDEAL all right!




Danielle Gordon said...

love your kids hearts and yours!! Great post celebrating the real meaning of Christmas. Forgot to email you saying P was blown away with the gift. Was neat to meet her! We'll try to get to visit her in Jan sometime too.
Much love to all the Betts family xx

Elizabeth said...

dear Isabel, thanks for this great post on the true meaning of an IDEAL Christmas. Lovely photos of a wonderful, lovely, inspiring family!
May 2012 bring you many joys and adventures.
with our love & blessings xx