Reflections on our life and lessons in uganda
Merry Christmas (almost)! I love Christmas season, it is one of my favorite things. When we were back in Colorado I was the lady who decorated in October. (Note: I no longer do that here since it is HIGHLY strange haha). This is a blogpost about Christmas, and missions. To be 100% honest, I didn’t really want to write it. However, the Lord has really been stirring my heart, so what can you do?
Christmas is a time where we celebrate the long, arduous travels of a 9 months-pregnant girl and her husband. Both were stepping out in crazy huge faith to believe in the promises of God. They ended up far from home and had a baby in a barn. Not long after they had to flee to a foreign land, again, on the word of God. That is the kind of thing I can’t imagine experiencing; though I do have a better idea now.
People have asked Jon and I so many questions about our life over here: what do we love, what do we hate, what do we eat, what do we wear, what is easy, what is hard…? Many people assume the biggest sacrifice is bunking with bugs, or having slithery neighbors right outside, and those are not some of the more enjoyable parts. However, the biggest sacrifice hasn’t been giving up my jeans for a skirt or learning to cook from scratch. It isn’t the copious bug bites itching our ankles or the heat reaching the 90’s for Christmas. The biggest sacrifice of most, if not every, missionary/missionary family is knowing that we won’t be “home for Christmas” (go ahead and hum the tune in your head, I did). Now, I don’t just mean Christmas as in December 25. I mean the birthdays, holidays, big events, little events, joys and sorrows that come with living life in a place. So many of us have family and friends back in [insert wherever we come from]. I know that back in Colorado, Christmas doesn’t feel quite like it should for our families. I know that our stockings are a reminder that this year part of their hearts is across the world.
It is hard not being with family for Christmas, but it is even harder knowing how much they feel it. It is hard for us overseas missionaries to know that our absence makes the holidays (and other events) just a little bit bleak for those who love us back in our first home. But it also brings me back to the first Christmas.
I can’t help but wonder if missing our family isn’t a small picture of how God the Father must have felt on that first Christmas too. I’ve made the comparison before of the sending out of their sons/daughters for the sake of the gopsel and the Father sending the Son. But around Christmas I see it so much more clearly. How wonderful a sacrifice it was for Jesus to come. We’ve never known perfect fellowship with our parents (although they are the best). Jesus was in perfect fellowhsip and relationship with the Father; He was creator and ruler of all. And on that first Christmas He became a tiny baby for my sake, for yours. I can’t imagine how much the Father missed the Son, how much heaven missed Him.
I think the Christian life is meant to reflect and mimic Jesus’ life. I think that should be even more so for the cross-cultural missionary. Because even though the sacrifice of being away is hard, we aren’t the first ones to do it. Because the King who holds our hearts became the best cross-cultural missionary for me. Because even though there is missing each other
in being so far from family during these big events, God the Father sent the Son far away on that first Christmas too. If the God of the Universe can choose to sacrifice everything He ever had to welcome me into His family, I think the only reasonable response is for me to do the same for others.
So this Christmas we will be missing family. There will be that little bit of sadness even in the celebration. But I am comforted beyond measure in the fact that we are following in the footsteps of Jesus. I am comforted that our family has a better understanding of the heart of God because they sent their children out for the sake of the gospel. And I am comforted in all things and all pains that one day I get to stand before my Savior and celebrate Christmas eternally.