Christmas is out of hand.  Stores were decorated just after Halloween and by the day after Christmas there were Christmas trees out at the curb waiting pitifully in the cold to be taken to the trash dump.  Fred Craddock, a great American preacher  reminds us that it is Christmas until January 6th.   Oh, I know ~ that’s churchy stuff and we live in the post-Christian era but Craddock reminds us that we need the 12 days of Christmas to reflect on what God has done among us. 

We in the east have been blanketed by an unusual snowfall which has helped us to stay in and not rush to the stores for sales or to return things that don’t fit.  I for one have spent time just sitting and that is kind of rare for me.  Someone gave me a book entitled “Enough ~ Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity.”   It begins with a wonderful prayer of contentment: “Lord, help me to be grateful for what I have, to remember that I don’t need most of what I want, and the joy is found in simplicity and generosity.”   That is one of my New Year’s resolutions:  Find joy in simplicity and generosity.

One other little tidbit.  I guess we cannot believe everything we read on the internet.  I “Googled” Christmas in Tanzania and it spoke of Christmas trees, presents, fine meals etc.  Since this is so contrary to what I have been told ~ no trees, no gifts, no decorations, no special meals ~ I immediately wrote to Sandy McCann because I didn’t want to report incorrectly to you.  She wrote back that she has NEVER seen a Christmas tree in Tanzania, nor any of the other things reported on the internet.  As the students have told me ~ they spend most of Christmas in Church, singing, dancing and thanking God for sending the baby Jesus to announce the coming of God’s Kingdom.   As poor as they are, I know they have it right.

Jessie has already written to thank all of you who contributed so generously to our alternative giving for Christmas.  Over $4,000 was donated which is HUGE in Africa.  Thank you all who support our efforts to make a difference.

Be warm and safe and enjoy these 12 days of Christmas.  Tally