Mzungu Memoirs

The Full Story of Christmas

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:1-5, 9-14

I learned something this Christmas.  I learned that the magic and joy of Christmas doesn’t depend on your location, it is more a matter of your heart.  I guess I always knew that, but it has definitely been reinforced this year.

Christmas Eve we planned an open house for all our eMi family.  We would not be able to join them for Christmas Day and I thought it would be nice to see everyone.  The day was full of preparations for the open house as well as making goodies to contribute to Christmas dinner.  The day didn’t go quite as I had planned.  I felt like for every step I took forward, I took two backwards.  But with the help of a wonderful husband and son, I was able to get everything pulled together.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the food and certainly the fellowship.

Then it was off to Christmas Eve service.  Kampala International Church, our congregation, was not having a Christmas Eve service, so we went to a service at a KIC satellite congregation across town.  It was a lovely service with readings, carols and candlelight.  We ended the service with the lighting of our candles, and the pastor spoke about taking our light, the light that Christ has given us, out into the dark world.  We ended the service by singing Silent Night.  It was a wonderful way to usher in Christmas 2011.

We stayed for some fellowship and hot cider after the service.  Yes, someone actually found the ingredients for a hot cider of sorts.  Whatever it was, it tasted good even though the weather really wasn’t quite cold enough to drink it.  Then it was home to make preparations for Santa and bed.

Christmas Day dawned bright and mostly clear.  I was the first one up.  It had been a late night for Caleb, so I wasn’t surprised that he was still asleep.  I was a little surprised that he only slept until 7:30 when he wandered into the kitchen butt naked asking for some underwear that I hadn’t had a chance to iron yet.  Once he had some clean, ironed underwear, he surprised me again by insisting on getting dressed before going to see what Santa had brought him.  He is growing up way too fast!

Once we got Daddy up, it was time to see what was waiting under the tree.  Christmas wasn’t terribly big this year, but Caleb seemed quite pleased with what he received.  He was particularly thrilled with the African flags soccer ball Santa had brought and the watch and video game Gran had sent.  He also embraced the spirit of giving this year.  He and Daddy made a special shopping trip to find Mommy some pretty necklaces (which I just love!), and he and I picked out a nice pen for Daddy.  He also wrapped some things he had made, candy and various other odds and ends for each of us.  Robert made the comment a few days ago that Christmas had better get here soon or Caleb wouldn’t have anything left in his room to wrap.  I thought it was incredibly cute.

After unwrapping gifts, we had a nice breakfast and headed down to church.  I’m not usually one for going to church on Christmas Day as I prefer Christmas Eve service, but Robert since had to go to oversee the collection, I decided to go as well.  Besides, I had to show off one of my pretty new necklaces.

It was a wonderful service with more carols and a lesson.  I thought the lesson was particularly powerful.  The speaker, one of my favorites, did a great job of keeping the kids, who were in for the entire service, engaged.  I learned a lot about the Christmas story and was reminded about some things that I already knew.  The speaker also made it particularly poignant for the adults.  He made the point that when we leave the Christmas story as only a baby in a manager being visited by shepherds and wise men, we don’t give the world anything to make it relevant to them.  The story is not complete until we remember who the baby was and why he came.  As the speaker highlighted the different starting points of the Christmas story taken by the Gospels, it was interesting that John goes all the way back to the beginning reminding us that the Christmas story really started “with God in the beginning.”

After such a wonderful lesson, we participated in communion, very appropriate for Christmas and the idea of completing the story.  Then the German delegation of KIC led us in singing Silent Night, in German.  It was a wonderful service ended by visiting with friends before heading home.

We weren’t home long before a friend Robert met on one of his project trips came to pick us for Christmas dinner at his house.  It was a small dinner, just his family of three and ours, but it was a wonderful time of games, food and fellowship.  We even got to try a northern Uganda Christmas specialty, a sauce made out of greens and g-nuts (sorry, I can’t remember the name) served with millet bread, a spongy brown substance eaten with your hands.  It was quite interesting and I really appreciated getting the opportunity to try something particularly Uganda.  After dinner, we ended the evening with a showing of “Home Alone” and of course, pie, plenty of pie, and a birthday cake for Jesus.

When we got home, we had hopes of visiting via skype with our families, but unfortunately we couldn’t connect with anyone.  Still, it was a wonderful Christmas full of magic, wonder and joy.  I think it will go down as one of my favorites.

Though the day of Christmas has passed, we wish you all the joy and blessings of the season.  May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and forever.

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