Well, hello 2017. You’ve finally arrived and we are happy to meet you. So much happened in 2016. Was it more full than most years? Who knows, but it sure was intense. Perhaps that is just how a beautiful mess of a life feels.
There was much to be sorrowful about…on a macro level, the Middle East and the refugee crisis all over the world were heartbreaking, painfully highlighted by Brexit and the election of Donald J. Trump. God only knows how all of that will play out, but our family is managing our stress, sadness and disbelief with prayer and donation.
What else can we do? We can celebrate all the goodness of this life. We can look at the voices for equality, justice and Christ-like love that are speaking louder than ever. We can hold our beloveds close knowing nothing is promised in this life other than birth and death. And we can be willing to stay up late to ring in the new year, take that trip that seems too hard to plan, email that friend we miss, and hug whenever possible. These strategies worked in 2016…we’ll see what new skills are to be aquired this calendar year.
We missed Christmas with family again, but had the joy of celebrating the birth of Jesus with dear friends here in Santiago. I spent the first half of the evening asking Rayna if she needed to use the potty (oh bright, stubborn girl, will this ever work?) and was a bit distracted by that whole situation. It took me by surprise when a candle laden platter of brownies came out of the kitchen and we quickly gathered the kids to sing. The birthday cake and candles on Christmas Eve are a tradition I want to bring with us wherever we go in this world, because it is such a beautiful reminder of what we celebrate on Christmas Day. Those are the things to treasure, appreciating what we have learned from this different kind of holiday season. We made some lovely memories this December, but it was no small condolence that we will all be back in Colorado in two weeks, spending time with both family and friends there and in Washington. Jeff also has an unexpected trip to Ethiopia for a research summit starting this Friday, so prayers for his safe journey and for the one Rayna and I will take a week later would be appreciated.
We have no idea what is in store for us in the coming year, but we have open hands and grateful hearts to start out with. Thank you for being on this journey with us and we look forward to celebrating every chance we get in the months to come. Love!!!