Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas week is here!

Thursday, December 15, 2016
I'm astonished at the date. It's 2016. Most days that seems normal. Today I realize that kids in their mid-teens were born in this century. Weird. My kids, born in the 80s, are getting older.
I'm online in the middle of Tuesday and Wednesday nights with two groups of leaders. It's daytime for them - 3am and 4am for me. Zzzzz. I skip the Thursday walk - just as well: it starts to pour and the walkers return from the hills without exercise. It's too dangerous to walk on the slippery mountain trails.

Friday night, our Sunday study group celebrates Christmas at our house.
We read the Story and sing carols
Crazy white elephant gifts
We're always eating ...

Our friends take us early in the morning with a group touring in the arboretum above the city. The guide has written a book on 101 trees and takes us through the park. Her co-guide is a poet well-known to Indonesians.
3 famous people (author, poet, Nobel Peace Prize chemist) and me
Tree roots can be enormous (this is half the height)
This glutinous rice, wrapped in leaves,
is our snack at the beginning of the walk 
In front of the Japanese war caves
Caves dug into the mountains by the Japanese during WWII

The enormous tree above us (100' tall and wide) is a Benjamina fig,
commonly grown as a 4-7' houseplant in the West
We eat lunch together before heading back.
Another group online Saturday night
W helps make appetizers for the after-church social. Then our life-group meets upstairs to conclude the Advent study of 2016.

Study at the house, then language school. W and I run errands afterward - and it's late afternoon before we get back home.

Read more: (ESV unless otherwise noted)
*God does great things beyond understanding, and marvelous things without number. Job 9:10

*Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved. Psalm 80:19
*Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust. Psalm 113:5–7
*From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16
*Light dawns for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. Psalm 97:11
*When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. Matthew 2:10 NKJV
*And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven. Luke 1:76-78 NIV
*Paul wrote: Though Christ was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. 2 Corinthians 13:4 NKJV
Moravian Prayer: Creator, too often we are blind to the wonders of this world. We are your people of faith. Help us to see your wonder in the faces of everyone we meet. 
Forgiving God, remind us that our preparations to receive and celebrate the birth of your Son, no matter how creative or extravagant, are for naught if not moved by and infused with your power. Lead us to receive Christ Jesus, who upon himself bears all our sins. Then, with  more pure hearts and desire, the light of your presence will be our guide, our comfort, and our joy. Amen.

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