What a wonderful Christmas celebration we had here in Kijabe. We missed the company of our family but we had a really simple and beautiful celebration of our Savior's birth. We started with our traditional Christmas Eve dinner then went to an open house at another missionary's home. Here are some pictures of the kids in their matching smocked Christmas outfits. For the record, Rhett did not approve. He said the kids were going to look at these pictures one day and say "Mom, seriously? Matching outfits?" but I think they are only little once and besides what else are we going to have to put in their wedding rehersal video??
All Gus wanted for Christmas was his two front teeth and he got them!
After the party we headed down to the hospital for candlelight caroling through the wards.
It was really, really beautful and had that magical Christmas Eve feeling.
Our kids walked up to every one and said "Merry Christmas" even to this M*slim woman from a neighboring country known for it's pirates. That particular people group, who is quite common at Kijabe Hospital, is known to be harsh and unfriendly at times. Others in the group mentioned how they wouldn't greet them or shake their hands. That's where the beauty of children come in . . . kids just break down those barriers sometimes. When a little blonde two year old is yelling "Merry Christmas" at you it gets your attention and draws you in. She couldn't help smiling! Claire and Ford (and even Gus) were great little missionaries that night and I was proud of them! When other mothers see you with your children they see you as a mother just like them and, if even for a minute, you have common ground.
I did feel a bit strange walking hand in hand with my three well noursished healthy kids as these mothers sat vigil at the bedside of their sick child. I am no different from them - I love my children no less than they do. What if this were my child?
We returned to our house and (tried) to tuck our kids in for the night before a few invited friends came for a time of Christmas worship guided by the wonderful CD Brook Hills gave us last Christmas designed for just this purpose. It has become a tradition for our family. It was the perfect end to a beautiful (but very rainy) Christmas Eve.
Christmas Day was filled with opening gifts and playing with new toys.
The kids are owners of two new bikes and are thrilled although it has been to rainy to ride them anywhere besides our kitchen. Yes, those are handbrakes you see there. No other option available that I could find so we are going with it. Not too sure how that is going to go! We have a basketball court in across the parking lot that will be a nice level area for them to learn to ride. The bikes also weigh about 30lbs each. They are made of lead and remind me of the weight my first Strawberry Shortcake bike many years ago.
We finished Christmas Day going to our friends the Friess family who are also Post-Residents here. The kids played and we ate another yummy meal together. It was a great end to a wonderful celebration and we are thankful to have new friends here with whom we can share life.
It was definitely a different Christmas for us. No traveling. No working either - which was really nice. No never ending list of parties to attend. It was really pure and simple. Some might think it is sad we were sad stuck out here in the bush with no other family around but it was a good reminder that Christmas is wonderful to celebrate with family but not actually celebrate family instead. Sometimes I think that line gets blurred a bit. Although we missed our family terribly and wished we were celebrating with them we were still able to celebrate Christmas out here by ourselves. It was a wonderful, peaceful time for us to celebrate Jesus. To see our kids truly excited about the true meaning of the day. To see Claire's understanding of Jesus grow more and more. To see them love God and love others on the day set aside to celebrate His birth. I'm thankful that their first memories of Christmas will be filled with days like we had this year.