I’ve avoided blogging about our first Christmas season in India up until now. I’ve honestly not really wanted to talk about it. I’ve more or less taken the approach of “if you don’t say it, it’s not true!” Maybe it was the three emotional breakdowns I had in three days because of the constant jackhammering outside our bedroom window when I was trying to sleep. Or maybe it was because we didn’t find a Christmas tree until December 10th. And then when we did, PK broke it trying to put it together. (He ended up fixing it, but not before there were a few tears shed.) Maybe it was the horrible head cold I woke up with on Christmas Day. Or maybe it was because of the lack of Christmas lights everywhere, the lack of cold weather, the fact that they were selling fruit cakes everywhere instead of Christmas candy. I’m sure it’s a mix of all of these things, but nonetheless, I guess I’m ready to talk about it.
Christmas was weird this year. But we also both identified with Advent more than ever before. We were able to observe and reflect on the longing for Jesus. The need for a Savior. It’s a little bit easier to reflect on your own need for Jesus when all is not calm, and all is not bright. When your heart resonates so deeply with words like “a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices” rather than “there’s no place like home for the holidays”. That set the tone for the holiday season — a thrill of hope, MY weary soul rejoices. We reflected a lot and read verses and I journaled a lot about how weird it felt to be here instead of home, how tired i was, how sick of being sick i was and how thankful I am that because of that night, so long ago, I have hope. A hope beyond all compare. And every day, i made the decision to choose joy. I didn’t always succeed, but I chose it. I chose it and I claimed it. And i celebrated hope and joy even in the midst of my weariness.
So Christmas was weird, but there were also some awesome moments. There was going to the boys school to see their Christmas program that they had been working so hard on. There was my language helper doing mehandi (henna) and cutting my hair for Christmas. There was Christmas Eve, celebrating with our new HOL family and seeing the joy on the kids faces when we gave them their gifts. There was the Christmas program that PK and I directed, which was equal parts hilarious and awesome. And there was the time I had the girls over to make and decorate sugar cookies. There was Preston waking up early to fix the Christmas tree to have it fixed and put together before I woke up. And there was our first Christmas just the two of us and eating hamburgers at Chili’s on Christmas Day. There was skyping with both of our families on Christmas Day, even opening presents with mine. And there’s the 2 12 packs of Dr. Pepper that my mom managed to get all the way from Houston to Kolkata for us to open on Christmas Day. And there was a deeper understanding of Advent and why it is important and thankfulness for who Jesus is and why he came.
And now, we’re gearing up for 2014. Celebrating all that 2013 has been and anticipating the newness and greatness that will come with our first full year in India.
Happy New Year!