This week there have been a lot of little things that have brought me joy — or at least brought a big smile. Here they are:
MONDAY: For the first (and maybe last??) time, I let the kids help me decorate the tree. Owen’s friend Suzuka was here too- Annie, Owen, and Suzuka had fun trying to see how many ornaments they could put within one square foot of each other in the center of the tree; while Olivia tried to see how many she could take down before I could stop her (OK- so next year – make sure that at least Olivia is sleeping when we do this again):
Our little friend Nina came over to play with Annie and Olivia. Here they are enjoying dancing like princesses (if you call Annie anything else, like Twinkle Toes or Sweetie, she is quick to remind you that no, she is PRINCESS):
I had my second Christmas English Bible/Craft class. It has been so so much fun to teach. The ladies have gotten into the crafts,
but, more importantly, into the Christmas story…This week we studied the message that the angel brought to Joseph, and how he was willing to believe the message because it was brought from an angel of God. One of the women, Keiko, who was at the class for the very first time, exclaimed in japanese, “Wow! This is a true story!” Another friend, Naoko, explained to her that Christians really believe in this story. Later, she said to her conversation partner that she believes that Jesus exists but she still can’t believe in the virgin birth.
These conversations, and my daily morning Advent readings, have made me ponder in new ways the reality of the Incarnation. It really IS amazing. We have heard the story so many times that it has lost its wonder. But to hear it through the ears of Japanese women who have enjoyed the customs of Christmas in this country without any knowledge of its meaning…has made me realize that it really IS an amazing thing. And I think that pondering on what it means to live on a VISITED PLANET makes evangelism at Christmastime especially meaningful. On Thursday my Christian message was much stronger than usual- it is just SO important that they experience and understand the realities that we are so used to.
FRIDAY: Is the day when I thought Eric was coming home from his Japanese pastors’ conference. But he called midway and told me it was actually Thursday night! I told the kids that we had a special guest coming for dinner, so they helped me get the house ready, fully trimmed for Christmas, and I lit as many candles as I could find… When Eric walked in, we all yelled Merry Christmas! and there were squeals of delight as they ran into his arms. This moment was my favorite of the week.
(The bread is made with squid ink, the liquid that squid squirt out! And it IS my favorite. REALLY.)