Well, Christmas was several months ago, and we're finally writing about it. Christmas is a wonderful time of celebration. It's a time where we remember that God came to Earth as a man to give us the gift of salvation. Having just had a little one a few weeks before that, I couldn't help but think about what Mary must have been thinking. I know that in Luke 1, Mary expresses her feelings after she found out that she was pregnant. What about after giving birth to Jesus? Even though she gave birth in a dirty stable amidst smelly animals, I imagine she was rejoicing even more than in Luke 1. Not only did she give birth to a beautiful healthy baby boy, but she knew that this was the Messiah.
On the other hand, there are many doubts that go through a mother's mind when having a child. Will I be a good mother to this child? What if I mess up in raising him, will he turn out ok? What if she were to get sick, will she be ok? The Bible doesn't really address what Mary thought about any of these things, but I believe that she had faith that God gave her this Child and that He would care for everything concerning Jesus. God chose Mary to be Jesus' mother as well as chose Jesus to endure all that He did. God had already planned when and how Jesus would die, and He had planned it all before the beginning of time. This gives me reassurance as a mother. God chose me to be the mother of my two girls out of all the women throughout all of time because He knew that it was best for me and them. God knows each thing that they will have to endure in being a part of our family and will use it for our good (Romans 8:28). God has planned out every minute of their lives, so I can let go of all my worries (1 Peter 5:7). I can trust God as we follow His direction to Africa, that He knows what will happen, that He will be allowing it to happen, and that He will be using it for our good. I should not worry about what opportunities we are leaving behind for our girls or what dangers or illnesses may lie ahead of us. I am not saying that we will not have times where we worry about our girls, but we can take comfort that God has plans for them that are good (Jeremiah 29:11).
Now for catching up on how we celebrated the birth of our Savior... When I was growing up, my family would go Christmas caroling every Christmas Eve. We would all dress in warm clothes and go to various friends' homes to sing in order to brighten their holiday and point them to Christ. Unfortunately, the
get a tree. Well, God provided us with an opportunity to decorate a tree together. We had stopped by the house of a wonderful family shortly after they bought their Christmas tree. This family has almost become like an adopted family to us. They invited us to eat with them and decorate their tree. Rebekah thoroughly enjoyed placing the ornaments on the tree and seeing the star at the top.
We also went to visit the
Then, shortly after coming home, we had two birthdays to celebrate. The same family that invited us to decorate their tree with them (the McRays), also offered to watch our girls so Tim and I could go to dinner for my birthday. We both dressed up and went to eat at a local restaurant called Lili's. As much as we love each of our girls, we enjoyed the time with each other over dinner without any interruptions. After dinner we went back to the McRays and shared strawberry cake and ice cream. Tim has become an expert at making the strawberry cake after only five years:) Rebekah's birthday was only two days later. We had a small family celebration with her on her birthday, and we had a small party with friends two days later. Instead of gifts, we all made books for Rebekah. I think that Rebekah will enjoy reading them as she grows up.
Near the end of January, there was also a baby shower for Abigail, so people from church could come and meet her. It was so much fun to see everyone and be able to share Abigail with all of them. Our friends who threw the shower did a beautiful job. Rebekah's favorite part was all the cupcakes she ate and the people to play with.
Now we are focused on selling our house and getting ready to leave for