If you've been reading recently, you've probably picked up that Elisabeth Elliot is one of my heroes. I've gone through some easy, busy years and haven't had a chance to learn from her (or my other heroes) for a while. Now I'm truly thankful for these current trials, because they're making me cling tighter to the Lord and run back to authors that I've learned so much from in the past. Here's something I just read:
It is nearly Christmastime. We don’t usually think of suffering during this glad season if we can help it. “It’s Jesus’ birthday!” we tell tiny tots, and we set about making cookies and gifts and trimming the house and the tree.
The very joyfulness of Christmas makes it especially hard for those who suffer. Jesus’ birthday, the Feast of the Incarnation, the Word made flesh—the happy morning when the myths about gods coming to earth in the form of men actually came true. This was “glorious news of great joy,” not only for poor shepherds but also for all people. Can it be that for someone two thousand years later who is nailed to a bed by pain, or who has lost something most precious, or who has been humiliated to the very dust, [or who is facing a scary court hearing and the possibility of exile]?
Perhaps it can if we think of what that glorious news entailed for the baby Himself.
[Skipping a very beautiful poem and more of the article here. Go read it, if you can spare the time.]
. . . we are fellow-heirs, if we share his sufferings. His splendor hereafter is what the sufferings are for. Let us think on these things, and have a very merry Christmas in the midst of whatever sufferings fall to us.
I hesitate to call what we're going through real suffering--especially compared to the situations of so many others--but it has been hard. I wish you all a merry Christmas and hope that my sharing this tiny bit of what is encouraging me will be an encouragement to someone else, too!
We're back to the same email situation we were in this summer, only worse. We're only checking once a week or so, but we can't do it with our computer, so it's even more complicated. Before I could at least read and answer from home, then go send and receive. Now one of us usually just goes somewhere, sends a few really necessary messages and kind of scans over what has come in. Please be patient with us! Your emails will get to us and be answered sometime, even if they have to wait until we get to the States.
Now, for the "etc" part of my title. . . there's so much that I could write! We really are doing well, enjoying life and friends and family. We're continuing our Advent evenings. Jaan and Raia are getting really excited about Jesus' birthday. I've decided that we are going to make at least some Christmas treats and continue our tradition of taking them around to our neighbors that evening, no matter what happens earlier in the day. Asya's growing like