We have a nice dinner out at the end of the day. The fish says hello from the center plate in the Chinese restaurant. Claudia and I enjoy a visit with Jane, an architect working on a big Bandung project.
We light the fourth Advent candle (PEACE) before W speaks at the international church. He uses Dr Seuss' The Grinch who stole Christmas" as the parable and reads about Jonah in scripture.
"Is your heart two sizes too small?" he asks us. Peace comes from serving others with an open heart, which only God can give us.
After, we hang around in the sunshine, snacking, talking, loving on each other.
Monday: Christmas Eve
Someone gave us 4 rattan chairs without cushions. We head out early to the "foam street" and purchase a double mattress and a leftover piece. The shop cuts the longer pieces into cushion size, and W cuts the rest with box cutters later.
The first three covers take a few minutes each. We break for lunch after I finish the third. Bad move.
With the last one, a shape as easy as than the rest, it's fussy from start to finish. Grrr. I piece together smaller scraps. Oops, the fabric bunches and catches in the zipper seam; I have to rip it out and start over. One edge of fabric is 2" smaller so it needs a long scrap on one side. And then the cover is too big overall. I pull it tight on the foam form, pinch the overage with my fingers to approximate what I have to cut off, and go back to the machine. It fits well in the end.
All in all, it takes less time to sew than to explain the curves and rectangles to someone else, a few hours for custom-fitted covers. They'll eventually be the foam liners under upholstery fabric. There's time for a nap in the afternoon, so all is well.
We have some overnight visitors but I need to snooze. (I must rest between energy surges.) W greets them before we leave for a Candlelight Service.
Guests make up for the regulars who are traveling to celebrate with family. Eleven readers tell the Christmas story found in Matthew and Luke - they're old and young, from every continent but Antarctica.
Except that she goes into labor in the afternoon, a few hours before service. It takes her and her husband an hour in traffic to reach the hospital. When they arrive, the nurses catch little Susy on her way into the world. She's too quick for a doctor.
W picks up my Christmas gift from the office: two lovebirds raised by Reza. They're beautiful - but I catch only a glimpse of them when we get home, put away everything from the evening out, and fall asleep.
Tuesday: Christmas Day 2018
By 5:00am, I give up on sleep and get to work in the kitchen. With no idea who or how many will show up, I have to cook a lot of food. The menu is finished by 9:30am (so I can nap again before people arrive).
Slowly the house starts to fill up. There are about 80 people, from 17 nations.
|One of the beautiful bouquets from BIC (flowers provided for decades by Fenny and her friend - thank you!)|
We can't leave food on the counter because of roaches and ants, so every day the kitchen has to be completely washed up and put away. (We would have worked until midnight without them.) The hot weather - 80+oF days, low 70oF nights - means food left out will spoil, too. Our candy canes on the tree have melted to a puddle of sugar at the bottom of the wrapper. "Baby, it's warm outside."
Before bedtime, we open a gift from WuJin, a dear Chinese friend. It's a beautifully packaged box of teas. Can't wait to try them!
Wednesday: Boxing Day
"Go to the bird market for any supplies," we're told. So we do. The two lovebirds have temporarily been in one of our two long metal canary cages; they'll eat through a wooden cage. Here, birds are not kept inside. The cages are hung outside on the porch, near the front door, or around the courtyard. We love the songs of our canaries, but the squawk of the bright little parrots adds a new dimension.
There's a section of town where you can buy birds and worms to feed them, lizards and rodents, civets (cats that poop out the famous Java coffee beans) and more. I inhale feather dust and bird poop and cough and cough. A drink of tea helps.
Maggots swarm a bucket, soon to be bird food.
*And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
Nativity of the Lord — Isaiah 52:7–10; Psalm 98, Hebrews 1:1–4,(5–12); John 1:1–14
*In the Lord my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. Psalm 28:7
*An angel of the Lord stood before the shepherds, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people.” Luke 2:9-10
*[After rushing to Bethlehem to see what the angels said,] The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Luke 2:20
*[When Jesus was dedicated in the temple as a baby,] Simeon took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation.” Luke 2:28-30
Moravian Prayer: Heavenly Father, the shepherds followed your signs to the manger to see your blessed Son and share the good news of his birth. May we continue to sing your praises as we experience your deep and abiding love for us. Thank you for this beautiful gift of Christmas, the truest form of grace.
Lord of heavenly armies, you are powerful enough to bring fear as you enter our lives. Yet, too, you are balm for the wounds of the world. Calm our fears to hear your message; send us forth to discover your good news and give us courage to share it.
Thank you for holding us so dearly. Stay with us always, for we cannot live alone. Embrace us when we need your touch. Gaze into our souls each time we need reassurance, and speak your promises until we see your salvation. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.