I have lots of warm, fuzzy feelings all year but my spirit sort of goes on high burner this time of year. Love it. Not many days 'til Christmas and as usual, there's a big question making the rounds...what do you want for Christmas??? Hmm...let's see. I didn't make a formal list...but our family says we have to give them clues/hints. Okay, I need a hand held can opener w/a good grip handle and a new night light.
That takes care of our family here...but...we've 'Chinese children'; Andrew Beall plus Ken/Debbie Beall. We go through this exercise every year; they call and e-mail from China. "Michael and Vasca, please send us your Christmas gift list"...they continue asking until we come up w/something. One year we tried calendars. Okay, how about a family picture...attached to an e-mail? No, No. Last year, Andrew wouldn't give it up so M finally told him I would like a small pair of pearl earrings (we thought that was a good suggestion since in China they're most inexpensive). How were we to know he would order our gifts from Sears which meant they were made in China but not China priced. The invoice came with the gifts and the little pearl earrings (surrounded by diamonds) cost him several hundred dollars...I almost passed out and rued telling him anything. So what to do this year?
My sweet Michael came up with a brilliant idea. He e-mailed Andrew the following, "For our Christmas please surprise us by finding a person (where you live and work) that you can surprise with a gift and with the good news that there is a savior who loves them and wants to have a relationship with them just like your relationship with HIM. If that person becomes your friend then you can surprise him/her with the 'book' that was written by spirit inspiration and you can be the bearer of 'goodtidings'. Now you may have to look that up in the dictionary as the words are old English." Same message for Ken and Debbie.
Okay, let's jump over to China for a lesson in physical warmth/lack of warmth. Have you ever worked when you were so cold you could hardly move? I have and I'm a very warm natured person. In China the government regulates when the heat will be turned on and when it will be turned off...for all of China. It's only on for a few months ~ that's why, if you'll notice, when you see pictures of classes, etc. everyone is bundled up...head to toe. I taught classes dressed in layers...my warmest jammies under my warmest pants, warm shirts, my warmest coat, scarf and gloves...students dressed the same...brrr! The only equipment I had was Chinese chalk and a wall mounted blackboard...not even a desk. Sometimes I was so cold I wondered how my feet would carry me home. So very cold...but there was a serendipity...an inner fire!
Love, lots of love. The Chinese don't know/practice a love like God's love...they're wonderful people though. Our cultures are just so different. As He often does, God worked so many learned of His love, talk about heart-warming? Kept our fire going...on and on. If you'd like, I could share some wonderful love messages with you...leave a comment and let me know.
Mother Teresa said, "If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out. To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it." Frankly, the decision to move to China was not easy by any means...but after all, Michael and I had always prayed to be used by Him and to give us opportunities to shine His light...no way we could back out of that...no way! To say that changed our lives is an understatement...He deluged us with opportunities for 2-1/2 years...we never had to go looking. HE brought them to our door wrapped up and tied with His love...and we didn't even give Him a gift list!
My fire was lit in 2002 and we returned home during Christmas season 2004...we're less than two weeks away from Christmas 2010 w/M and I still on fire. Oh sure, we've sputtered several times...but He held us up and kept filling our lamps. The following quote from David Brainerd is worth thinking about: "I longed to be a flame of fire continually glowing in the divine service and building up of Christ's kingdom to my last and dying breath".
Flaming, building, serving while remaining..
Balanced and Unafraid.