Merry Christmas from the SOS girls! Our days have been full of caroling, wrapping, hot chocolate sipping, and enjoying time with family! We’ve stayed busy working on the eBook with Doctor Reid, as well as sending out our first SOS Christmas Card. Even though much is swirling with activity and parties here, our partners in Moldova have worked incredibly hard over the past few months…..
Ruslan, the project manager, keeps our inboxes current with the events and happenings on the land property. His emails constantly remind us of his faithfulness and zest for the Lord! Collectively, members of Immanuel Baptist Church, campers and villagers have worked extremely hard, as they plant the trees the Lord provided through SOS. As you see in the pictures, they have worked “joyfully, as unto the Lord.”(Colossians 3:23) We are so grateful for the ways God has allowed the village surrounding the camp to flourish through this work opportunity. Many villagers have found employment through this project, which we praise God for as well.
The grading has reached its conclusion and the topography is finished! The blueprints are being drawn soon— it is so exciting to see the project continue to grow into reality! The drawings and completed grading plans are such wonderful “Christmas gifts” for our ministry!
Beyond the land updates, the Lord has pressed on my heart to share what He has been teaching me this Christmas season. I’ve seemed to reasonate much with innkeeper and the shepherds of the Christmas Story.The innkeeper, as I love people, but have learned much from his seemingly insignicant role in Christ’s coming. The shepherds, as I simply have a preoccupation for sheep and farms:)
When I first thought about it, the innkeeper seemed to do nothing but refuse a place for Mary and anxious Joseph. He hurries them off to a stable, and then drops off the scene. Yet, as I thought about it more, what happened to this unsuspecting innkeeper was more than just a sudden baby delivery. He not only missed the birth of the Savior of the universe, but shoved this divine Child and family into his stable muck. The more this resonated in my heart, the faster I became completely convicted. How often do we wrap ourselves in the flurry of this season, yet we completely miss Christmas. We’re absorbed into our phones, presents, football games, even sometimes Church activities. These distractions cause us to fully miss the season of advent, resting and waiting. in Christ’s coming. This realization has allowed me to breathe, allowing the joyful anticipation of our Lord to invade my heart instead of Christmas antics and stress… These lyrics perfectly capture these thoughts….
I don’t want you to miss it, I know I have before
Like the innkeeper who missed the wonder right outside his door
So open up your heart as Christmas passes through
Just in time to wake the child asleep inside of you
Yet, the Lord has revealed to me truths from the Shepherds. One of my favorite scenes of Moldova is the shepherds dotting the countryside. The live in a very much agrarian lifestyle, in which they must work off the land to provide for themselves. By experiencing shepherds firsthand, the story of the shepherds in Christ’s birth leaps off the page for me. Their experience of the angels, a seemingly horrifying experience, could not have been a clearer sign of the Savior. They soon realized this host of angels came not to harm, but to announce the birth of the long-awaited Messiah. With haste, the Shepherds left their flocks in search of this Christ-child. They humbly came to adore their Savior, despite their position as nearly the lowest of men.
The innkeeper provides quite a contrast. Mary and Joseph stood oustide his door, begging for a place of rest. He ignored their plea and ushered them into his last option of His cave. The Shepherds, however, left their sheep, their livelihood, everything— to find their Savior. After finding Him, they worshipped and exclaimed His arrival to everyone they saw.
“When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” (Luke 2)
The choice is now ours– will we embrace our families, communities, this world for our King? Or leave this precious Savior- Child at the door-step of our hearts? Will we rest in the gift of Christ? Or will we trade His presence for the presents of this world? Will we abandon our flesh in obedience like shepherds? Or miss the opportunities He has given us? Christ awaits you with a heart of mercy and compassion. May you find your JOY in His birth and ressurection this Christmas season.
“Christmas cannot be bought. Christmas cannot be created. Christmas cannot be made by hand. Christmas can only be found —In the creche, in the cradling trough, in the mire and the stench and the unexpected and unlikely and only in the person of Christ.” ~Ann Voskamp