For some reason this year feels different from last year when we spent our first Christmas here away from the traditions, friends and family we had always been accustomed to. Our Denver peeps remember our house being decorated to the 9’s & a little event called the “In-Between” we did every year. Today we are a far cry away from that. What used to take at least a few weeks to set up we now do in a few hours! Simplicity at its best!
We are blessed to have found a cheap (and I mean cheap) tabletop tree, a few ornaments plus a few we brought with us, a cheap little handmade Ugandan manger scene, a few strings of lights & most importantly, Jesus’ Stocking which tells us the real reason we have this holiday to start with and that’s it! Christmas holidays are much different here. The Christians here also celebrate it but with a lot less fanfare: No Black Friday, Cyber Monday, the craziness of trying to get everything bought and wrapped before the big day. Most of that is due to the fact that people have so little they cannot afford much.
Theft is real high this time of year and the “Grinches” are more numerous than at other times of the year as we experienced firsthand last month and while we were at home. We praise God He protected us and we only lost some stuff. We have found that the people here having no money for needs will gather what they have and spend it on Christmas and then once the holiday is over they struggle to get basic needs. In other words, it is not just an American thing to have things; it is universal. In America people use plastic many times far too much in excess so debt just looks different. At any case when we live beyond our means it isn’t healthy.
I have struggled more this year than last missing family and the festive snowy atmosphere we used to know. Instead we are in our “summer,” the hottest of the 2 hot seasons. The other 2 seasons are rainy and we have just come out of the rainiest. This picture was taken on December 19th on our way back to Ft Portal from our supply run to Kampala.
We have the best weather in the world in this little town but it comes at a cost: No snow.
This brings us to the crux of the matter: Christmas is not snow or lighted trees or gifts under it nor parties & food. It is Christ. Pure & Simple! Immanuel, God With Us. He came to this earth not in a cozy house with 6″ of snow on the ground or a nice hospital and certainly not under a tree though His life ended on one. he arrived in the worst conditions possible!
He came to provide a gift we could never earn: Reconciliation with God for those who choose that gift & follow Him. God came in the form of man in a drafty, cold and dirty barn in the most unclean circumstances. The God of the Universe could have rigged it so He would come at the best possible moment in the best of conditions in the King’s castle surrounded by fanfare! Why would He come in this way? To teach me. Teach me that my problems are nothing; that He knows what it means to suffer far more than I do; to show me what it means to be a servant; what it means to be a disciple. And most of all; how much He loves us.
This innocent child held so much power at birth that His very presence drove a king to wipe out all the boys in the area 2 years old and under! Over 2000 years later His name still spurns strong emotions: Love or Hate. He didn’t come to condemn us but to save us. How could anyone reject Perfect Love? Satan’s world does and we are the messengers who are here to help free others from the grip of certain death. That is what Christmas means to me.
The Gift is one that not only grants life but is with us throughout this life. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)
We pray your Christmas season is filled with that “great joy” & the hope that comes from the One who gives us the only real hope we have. As this second year winds down for us we know we are here fro the long haul. If you would like to partner with us financially as a monthly partner or with a one time gift, please click here and it will take you to our giving page. You can also access it from our “Donate & Links” page. Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!