Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas ornament - Bahamian style

Our second Christmas as a married couple -- 1994.

Our tree was a broom stick with holes in it and some random artificial branches from who-knows-where sticking out. I know we had some lights, but I don't remember much beyond that. All of our newly collected Christmas trappings from our first Christmas (as well as most of the rest of our  belongings) were tucked away in an attic hundreds of miles away.

The weather got down to a cool 50 degrees over night that felt surprisingly frigid to these native Chicagoans.

It was a very simple Christmas. Guests from home joined us for part of the Christmas break and we enjoyed gifts that we had not expected to be part of our celebration that year.

This lone sandy ornament brings it all back. The sand, the shells, so foreign to suburban Illinois became a part of daily life as we worked at Windermere High School in the Bahamas that year. We like to tell people we were on Eleuthera (the island name) because that sounded a little more respectable than being a missionary in the Bahamas. But make no mistake, there was nothing cushy about this role.

That year grew us in amazing ways. Daily reliance on God for strength and wisdom, weekly faith-building to pay the bills without a salary, continual revelations of the power of God and his stunning love for us.

We lived with whatever we could fit into our two allowed suitcases on the trip there, and God provided the rest, which was enough.

That year shaped us in so many ways. It taught us what enough really was. Revealed God's sovereignty in an amazing way. Schooled us in living by faith. Built relationships that remain to this day. Enriched our experiences to heighten our learning when we returned to wrap up our degrees at Moody Bible Institute the following year.

Unforgettable. And, the little ball ornament hangs with that story to tell over again each year.

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