A joyful and peaceful Christmas be yours!
Frank’s December 2016 Update
Dear Saints and Aints.
“In 1492 Columbus sailed the Ocean blue.”
It is said that when he left he did not know where he was going. When he arrived he did not know where he was. When he returned he did not know where he had been.
This, no doubt, can be applied to some of my letters. Yet, a Christmas letter should actually be easy to produce.
Christmas! What a tapestry of wonderful themes! Themes resplendent with Ivory palaces, a lowly hay-filled crib, a poor baby with glorious angels and lowly shepherds in attendance. A choir of angels floating above, proclaiming “Glory to God in the Highest” joined by the bleating sheep who, more or less, “proclaimed” the same only in a different “language”… like the poem below:
“The mighty stars above
His wonder do proclaim;
The little dew drop in the grass
Does very much the same.”
What contrasts! Yet, what unity in purpose – to proclaim the Glory of God in the highest!
And in the crib – the baby – of whom John the Baptist says, “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”
Senseless mockers dismiss this as a fable. The Nativity narrative is not a fable; it is not couched in the language of a fable – “Once upon a time…” but is replete with historical facts, figures, and places as we read in the Gospel of Luke:
“1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)3 And everyone went to their own town to register … 4 So, Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David…” (Luke 2:1-4)
Saints be encouraged; rejoice! We are celebrating a real event that took place at a real location, enacted by real people at a real time – the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior. About the events in the Gospels Peter wrote:
“For we did not follow cleverly devised fables when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”
(2 Peter 1:16)
The apostle John concurred:
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.”
(1 John 1:1)
This should inspire any self-respecting wordsmith to produce a masterpiece for that selfsame purpose – to bring:
Glory to God in the highest!
One need not be a wordsmith to express that sentiment; one only needs to look about, and the words of the hymn “When all thy mercies, O my God…” spontaneously come to mind.
“When all thy mercies, O my God,
my rising soul surveys,
transported with the view, I’m lost
in wonder, love and praise.
Ten thousand thousand precious gifts
my daily thanks employ;”
To mind come our kids, whose faces are often draped in joy, and the sound of their laughter, being not far behind the Angels’ “Gloria in excelsis deo.” Their garments however, never mind how hard we try, do not qualify them to become a member of that heavenly choir; though the lowly shepherds might not have objected to their presence in their midst…
Right now they are preparing themselves for Christmas dramas, dances, and a host of other activities to dazzle their audience. We have amazing kids! If there was a way to prepare their tummies for the Christmas dinner that, no doubt, would take precedence over all other activities…
Then there are our volunteers and Ethan who are busy teaching English, guitar and a host of other things. Ethan continues to work on the Childcare project. Ben Albrecht prepared a beautiful, brief Christmas video; to see it just follow the link below.
Praise is due to God for the multitude of friends – you Saints – angels in work clothes, who through your gifts and care and prayer make the radiant joy on the faces of our kids and the sound of happy laughter possible.
I praise God above all for Bapu, for the gift of a successor. He is the mover behind all that moves; bearer of all the burdens. The little kids love him! He patiently and carefully listens to them, and, unlike me, he never raises his voice.
Do pray for him for courage, wisdom and strength, and that he will have the good will of all powers there be. Pray for us all!
Frank, Bapu, staff and all the kidlets
Christmas Video: https://vimeo.com/196380501