Today we said “Melkem Genna”—Merry Christmas in Amharic—as Jan 7 is Christmas Day in Ethiopia. Our Embassy group decided to head out of Addis and take a two hour trip to the gorge. The waterfalls we were looking forward to were not there because it was not rainy season, and the baboons we were hoping to see were not around—probably to stay out of the heat. But one of the best parts of the trip for us was our time with some of the local kids who tried to sell us baskets and hand-made cross necklaces so they could attend school. They also asked for pens. (We made sure to tell the next group to bring lots of pens to pass out!) To end this unforgettable day, we had an amazing time of worship together on the way back to Addis—such a beautiful time together!
When we got back to the Guest House, Rachel Miller showed us a song by Straight No Chaser called “The 12 Days of Christmas” that is quite funny! It has an allusion to the 80’s Toto song “Africa” which I actually downloaded on my ipod before our first trip for court. Thought you might enjoy it as well! I hope the YouTube link works—not sure since I’m trying to do it from Africa!! 🙂
On a deeper note, I want to share something about being here on Christmas that I have not told many people before now. I have held onto a promise I felt God made to me a year ago—not sharing it but with a couple people for fear of putting words in God’s mouth or looking silly myself to think God would speak to me. Last Christmas, 2009, I was decorating our tree with my ipod earplugs in, listening to praise music—it was such a meaningful time for me. It was the evening of the last day of one of our fasts about our adoption and I was not hungry at all, except for the hunger I had to praise our faithful Redeemer! I was not thinking about our adoption at all at the time, and yet in the middle of it all, out of the blue I felt like God told me that we would be celebrating Christmas with our Ethiopian kids next year. What?? Really! OK, well, we’ll see what happens. Then when it was coming down to the wire, I really thought we would have the Dec 22 Embassy date and be home in time for Christmas. As time went on, I started to really worry that wouldn’t happen. I think one of the main reasons was because I was afraid God wouldn’t follow through with His promise, or that I was crazy and not really hearing His voice after all. Finally, I came to a place where I could trust Him no matter what, like Abraham with Isaac—that God would provide even if I didn’t understand how (see my earlier blog post when I finally let go of this worry).
Now I understand. We DID celebrate Christmas with our Ethiopian children! Not in my myopic thinking of having it in America, but we celebrated with them in THEIR homeland! It was such an unforgettable experience!! I had to hold tears back much of the evening of the Christmas Eve kids’ service with the children at the Transition Home. I SO wish we could publish the little pageant that they did—I have never seen anything like it and I have seen a lot of Christmas programs in my lifetime! 🙂 Rachel Miller and I kept looking at each other through wet eyes, incredulous of the moment we were sharing, in awe of God’s timing and grace to allow us to experience it, and thankful that God, in His incredible mercy, saw past our complaining and worrying and begging to get our kids sooner, in order that we could experience something “even greater than we could ask or imagine,” and so that God could be glorified!