We went to a church Sunday that was truly my home church (Gateway) of Peru. You could not have convinced me how much it would feel like home until I walked into a gym-like room, bleachers included! I smiled all the way in the front door. We had been told Friday that we wouldn't make it home for Christmas and a good friend gave us the suggestion to go to this church. I needed the encouragement and the taste of home. It was good for my soul!
I understand quite a bit of Spanish--especially if it's written or spoken very slowly! Fortunately, a gringo was the preacher, and although he has been in Peru for 30+ years, I understood most of what he said. And the main idea was a needed reminder for me--Emmanuel, God with us.
My mom reminded me in the last few days of what she's been learning too. Christmas isn't about good food. Or a feeling. Or cold weather. Or even family. Those things are the bonus for me that "feel" like Christmas. That make me motivated to decorate and listen to songs I've heard 5 million times. And that help me celebrate what it really is about. But ultimately, it is only about Jesus. It is only about God choosing to send His son to Earth as a human to complete His master plan. So that I can have a Savior! God with us. God with me. Dios conmigo.
This year, that has never hit closer or been more needed. It's 70 degrees and I live in a hotel. Our 19 year old is home and we are here, eating Kraft mac & cheese and bread with Nutella on it. On Christmas Day. But I will say, in the last 2 years and in our time in Peru, I cannot imagine doing this without Christ. I am so grateful that God chose the crazy plan of Himself in human skin and so grateful that when He left, He left the Holy Spirit. When it has been hard or confusing or just infuriating, we are grounded in a peace that I know you can't know without God with you. It's just not possible.
We still plan to celebrate, God with Us, with good food, and my decorations (that I might leave up until February just because I'm home), and our family and friends! But I won't forget this year's Christmas, that is for sure. And I won't forget what I learned!
Tomorrow, the Peru world should be opened again and the craziness will recommence. We are praying to get one thing that we need that should help us get all 5 passports. We currently have 4. More info to come as we have it!