Merry Christmas, everybody!
You know your students love you when they turn you into an elf with a really cool bow. It's kind of hard to make out, but those big red patches are part of a giant Santa. Apparently I'm about to fill his leg with arrows and bring him down like a great red woolly mammoth. I confess that I'm equal parts proud and appalled.
Well, it's Christmas afternoon and I am sitting in my classroom listening to Michael Buble wonder whether he has told me lately that he loves me. He hasn't, but that's alright. I mean, we barely know each other.
Christmas on the Africa Mercy is a bittersweet time. It's not often you get to celebrate such a well-loved holiday with such a tight-knit community. Last night, the halls were filled with crew members flitting to and fro like overgrown elves as we filled each other's shoes with little gifts and goodies. There are cookies and chocolates everywhere. I had some for breakfast this morning as I opened Christmas presents with a few close friends. (I got a set of magnets called 'Magnetic Monarchs'--portraits of all the kings and queens of England from William the Conqueror to the current Queen mum with her trusty corgy. Esther, you know me so well!) Then we all lazed around until it was time for Christmas Brunch, a true Christmas Feast, after which I felt the sudden urge to clean my cabin and do some laundry. That last bit might seem a little out of place, but the truth is that in the midst of our celebrations we all have little currents of sadness woven in among the waves of joy that are flowing in and out of our hearts today. At least, most of us grown-ups do. And doing laundry can be comforting in a practical, getting-something-accomplished sort of way. So can blogging, now that I think of it.
I guess I'd just like to say Merry Christmas (again) to everyone. Because Christmas is a beautiful reminder of the heart of God. Jesus, who had all the power and glory of God before time began, was so moved by love that he gave it all away on a crazy gamble for our hearts. He looked at the fiery destruction of all our sins and, instead of turning away, ran straight into the flames to burn with us, and for us, and ultimately, to put the fire out. He was willing to suffer so that he could draw us up to God. I will spend my whole life trying to understand it.
But today, I am just glad that he came.