Thanksgiving and Christmas. Two of my favorite holidays.

Being in a foreign country can be tough. I don’t know the language (yet!). I don’t know the culture well. I don’t even know where to buy good meat. These are normal every day challenges but add in the holidays and challenges can become hardships.

I have moments when I think, “What am I doing here? Did God really send us here?” Then, just this morning, I watched my daughter, Stella, run after her daddy so that she could go on a motorcycle ride with him down our little mountain before the winter rain began. I watched her run, curls bouncing, enjoying the backdrop of the mountain and started to remember why we came.

We came to serve. We came to love others. We came to give our children a better picture of who Jesus is by following Him. We came because He asked us to trust Him, even when nothing made sense.

Then, I started to think about these holidays that I love celebrating. First, I thought of Thanksgiving. I thought about the gathering of my family to make food, eat food, play games, talk, eat more food, and just enjoy being together. Then, I thought about the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving. We celebrate because of a group of people who came to our country. They were also following God’s call. They were also in a foreign place.

Then, I started to think about Christmas. I thought of Christmas lights. I thought of snow. I thought of wrapping presents. I thought about my family gathering to decorate Christmas cookies. Finally, I looked across our living room and saw our nativity set.

For several weeks, we’ve had this nativity out for our children. We wanted it to be “interactive” and so we let them play with it hoping they could begin to understand why we really celebrate Christmas. Though the pieces have been broken many times (We really need to purchase a wooden set!), we keep pulling out the super glue and putting them back together. We want our children to know who these people are and maybe, just maybe why Jesus came as a baby in a manger. Stella will carry around several of the people, talking about Mary and baby Jesus and Joseph. She’ll set them up in different places around our home. During nap time, she wants me to read stories about when Jesus came to us, and then, makes sure I put Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus on the bed with her.

I wish I had that kind of dedication! Watching her carry around Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus reminded me of something very important about Christmas that is not found in the “Christmas story.”

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but   made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became   obedient to death – even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:5-8

Jesus was not at home on Christmas. He was not in comfort. He was not even of the right “social” status. He did not have the enticing smells of a Christmas dinner. He smelled animal feces. He was a human infant, unable to care for Himself. The God of the universe humbled Himself to save us!

That is the attitude I need to have. Thanksgiving and Christmas are my reminders that being on “home” soil, doing those comfortable holiday events is completely unimportant. The original holiday makers were uncomfortable but forged new ways and made big impacts. I only hope that I can learn from their examples.

The holiday season can be especially difficult for our students here at Caribbean Mountain Academy. Please, pray for them as they struggle with not being home for the holidays. Pray that we can be their home away from home.

Bonus pictures

IMG_1698 Merry Christmas!

IMG_1776 Here’s a taste of our winter rain.

IMG_1770Stella loves to “write” in her notebook.

IMG_1751Andrew with the kids

IMG_1741On a rainy Sunday afternoon

IMG_1731Grady has discovered how to climb up the wall between the bathroom and his room.

IMG_1710Tommy and “Duke” get acquainted.

IMG_1655 On the trail up to Flat Top

IMG_1651Blazing the trail

IMG_1643Our view near the top

IMG_1632Walking to the path to start our hike up Flat Top

5 thoughts on “Thanksgiving and Christmas. Two of my favorite holidays.

  1. I love seeing these photos! You look beautiful – more than simply pretty, a beauty that’s shining from down deep, full of joy! Your kids are so adorable 🙂 Thanks for sharing how your doing. That’s great that you have a nativity that the kids can play with and interact with the Christmas story on their level. What a great idea!

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  2. In every picture of Tommy, it looks like he was thinking about something kind of deep, and then someone interrupted his musings in order to take a picture. lol! Oh, and I am completely unsurprised that Grady found a way to climb something as smooth and flat as a WALL. 😉

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    1. Tommy’s eyes can be very expressive! Sometimes, he’ll just look at me with such intensity, usually when someone else is holding him and wants me. 🙂 Grady has learned how to climb the pole of the clothesline outside so climbing the wall was easy for him. 🙂

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