This Christmas I longed for Jesus more than ever before. I kept finding myself just uttering His sweet name all day long. Under my breath, in my mind, on my heart – “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus”
It was more out of desperation than out of praise.
This Christmas season was hard for me. I spent most of it with a pretty heavy heart and a lot of discomfort. And I don’t think I was alone. I kept reading about and talking with people all over the world who were feeling the same, mostly those who live abroad and away from everything comforting and known. One person even entitled their post ‘Surviving Christmas’. Since when did Christmas become such a struggle that we must survive through? It was always a time of relaxation, rejuvenation, family, comfort, abundance, and food. But I understood this post. I felt like I just wanted to survive through this Christmas and move on.
I really wanted a real Christmas tree and I wanted to open lots of gifts on Christmas morning. Is that selfish of me? I have now spent four Christmas’ in Kenya with no tree or gifts and, for the most part, I didn’t mind that one bit. But this Christmas, I wanted lots of junk food in my stocking and some new stylish clothes and maybe a fancy gadget. I miss spending Christmas with my family and doing things the way that I did growing up.
It is unbearably hot here. Not sure what happened but it seems hotter than last year. It’s made everything a lot more difficult and daunting. Plus we have are all battling some sort of head cold that is making everything that much more uncomfortable. You can’t even sit still without sweating. Last night I had the fan blasted on high and draped my body with a damp towel and I was still sweating. Tears streamed down my face just wanting to be cool.
Kelvin’s family is here and although I adore them, they do things differently. They don’t even speak english so often I have been left out of the conversation. I am so nervous to cook for his mom that I just keep messing up. My rice has been mushy and my chai too strong. I am not even sure if I want to explain how uncomfortable I was having a chicken on my deck. Before we killed it on Christmas morning, I had to go to my room and compose myself so tears didn’t decide to show up for all to see. Chicken. Blood. Everywhere. And me being uptight about cleanliness hovered over Kelvin trying to make sure everything was washed with hot water and bleach. At some point I scratched my nose only to realize that I just smeared chicken blood all over my face.
It’s not always easy knowing that you don’t have the means to buy your loved ones gifts. Kelvin and I went to the grocery store the other day and had the intent of treating his family to some nice gifts. Once we looked at the cash in our hands we realized that it was not going to be possible. We ended up buying some more expensive sweets for them all to share. However, it is even harder when I look around and see people who don’t have any food or any family for Christmas. They are right outside my door.
My heart aches with all the suffering around me and all over the world. Shootings, bombs, sicknesses, poverty, dysfunction all around. One heart break after another.
Jesus Jesus Jesus
I believe I have understood now more than ever what it means to long for a Saviour, to await the coming of Hope, to depend solely on the Son of God. How many times I had to stop and whisper ‘Jesus’ knowing that He was the only thing that could get me through this next day, hour, minute. At times I didn’t even know what I needed or how to get there so I just murmured out His name.
And He did show up. I did get through. And I am doing well. There were great moments of joy and wonder. I did laugh and smile and make merry. We enjoyed family and loved ones and ate amazing food. Sweet breezes and cold showers cooled my body.
God is indeed with us.
Yes, He is really with us.