Dr Hanna and her daughter Alice are our scripture readers today. They're wearing beautiful traditional fabric: batik, sewn into modern styles.
After a Sunday focused on peace, we have our final Monday study of 2019. We're starting into our "finals" and "lasts" of the year.
Are we really this close the year's end? The study participants bring the most wonderful food for our enjoyment. First, everyone shares ideas, prayers, and observations. After, some of us take pictures around the tree before everyone scatters into the day.
While I'm in the office, W gets the Lessons and Carols stapled into Sanny's cover. Sanny and I choose readers and send out the story passages from scripture to each one. 11 people will read their parts between carols tomorrow night.
Tuesday - CHRISTMAS EVE
The team is already on break, and this is the last staff day for the office until the New Year. Tabitha flies to us from Malaysia in the morning - she's became a friend the first times we taught in Malaysia. I take the morning off - but have to get to the office to prepare for the Candlelight Service tonight.
There's a lot of traffic in our quiet neighborhood - the destination restaurants don't help! In typical Indonesian fashion, cars are parked beside and into every street.
Young men direct traffic and collect the fees before a car pulls away - it might be 35c (5000 IDR) or if it's really expensive, may be up to $1 for unlimited time. It's a whole industry across the city: various people are assigned to their block and they'll collect the coins or small bills for their "boss."
And after, we gather around to share treats and conversation. W and I walk home slowly after 8pm. The night is warm around us.
Wednesday. CHRISTMAS DAY: "Merry Christmas Everyone!"
It's Christmas morning! I'm cooking before 5:30am. The pasta water is put on to boil while I make the curries and other sauces. By 9:30 I'm finished with most of it. We have spinach in cream sauce, spaghetti in tomato sauce, curried sausage, and pineapple-sweetened meatballs. I hard-boil 36 eggs and sort out which dishes to use and the logistics of the White Elephant exchange. I print out the numbers and instructions for whoever will announce it. (Turns out to be me, so I don't need that.)
Our kids call to wish us Merry Christmas - what a treat, and how far away they seem. (On Boxing Day, it's cute to see my mom and her youngest great-grandchild together. There's a definite family resemblance between these two.
W puts three tables in place while Tabitha brushes out Cocoa the poodle. She also sets up the rattan plates and their liners. I decorate upstairs and down. It turns out to be a waste of time upstairs: the +60 guests cram onto the patio and crowd the main room downstairs.
We've announced that we will open the gate at 11 - but a few come an hour early. They relax on the porch while we finish preparing. About noon, W prays a blessing on the food as we start to eat. Everyone brings food - there's an abundance at the feast.
I put my feet up and thank God for Jesus, the reason for the season, as W snoozes beside me.
The massage lady comes over - ah, I was looking forward to that when my back was aching yesterday! While Tabi endures/enjoys her deep-tissue massage, the helpers and I clean.
After lunch, W, T, and I are off to the ACE Hardware store. None of the post-Christmas sales are marked yet. There's no planning ahead here; gradually there will be markdowns. By the time we get back to town, everything may be picked through. "We don't know when we will do the sales," says an employee to Waldemar. There's no telling when is a "good day" to come.
I shoot a WhatsApp to a dear neighbor regarding our annual New Years Eve neighborhood get-together. "Yes, or no?" I ask her. "Is it something enjoyable or would it be difficult?"
Our neighbors are getting older. It's more dangerous to walk through the potholes after dark ... and harder for them to get out in the evening. They're also having a few smaller parties around neighborhood. We're off the hook. No need to hold an event this year.
What a difference a day makes. Tabitha, Sumi, and I clear the Christmas ornaments out of the living room and off the porch. Everything goes back into storage - except for the bare pre-lit tree in the LR. That stays another day. We'll get our ornaments back from BIC after Sunday. They were used to dress the hall and set up a selfie station that was well-used during Advent.
Not quite sure why W moved the aquarium bowl from a side table to the side of the porch - the dogs slurp water from it. That can't be great for the fish! I stash away the little porch tree and he promises to return the fish bowl to its place tomorrow.
I make lunch while W and Gum pack the newly-washed folding tables into the back of the SUV. They take them back to Green Gate.
We have a glorious tropical downpour that threatens to soak all the furniture on the porch. W tosses the pillows inside the LR, out of the rain and wind. The dogs retreat to their crate in W's storage room. Alexa plays music to divert their attention from the spectacular thunder and lightning.
Tabitha, W, and I walk to Miss Bee for supper. (No soup and fresh bread tonight. Change of plans.) I'm sleepy before 7pm. The dark of night has fully arrived.
*I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive. Jeremiah 33:8
*The angel said to Joseph, “She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
Moravian Prayer: Loving God, you entered into human history to show us your love, to be with us, and to wash us clean. We are made new through Jesus, and we rejoice. Amen.