Here we are again, Christmas time. The season of advent. The season of celebrating the birth of Christ Jesus. Last year, was a series of ups and downs as we missed snow, family, and our traditional Christmas parties with friends, however, we quickly learned that Christmas in Cambodia is a wonderful time to celebrate the birth of Jesus and be with those you love dearly without the huss and fuss of everything in the West. So once again we are celebrating in Cambodia, and once again it has been nothing shy of joy-filled, fun, and authentic. Below is us decorating our little tree, a real pine is not even a thinkable option, so we are just happy to be able to have a tree as the price tag on these puppies will make anyone gulp. We still need to work on our skills for putting on the lights, every year we have to do it like 5 times before it is "good enough." Any tips?
We have also made a tradition of going on a special Christmas date every year. We have gone to plays, concerts, and stayed in fancy hotels. Here is Cambodia we opted for a night on Street 240. This boutique filled street that gives their best attempt at a Christmas-y environment. We had a wonderful dinner out, a special trip to Gloria Jeans Coffee (closest thing we have to Starbucks) for Peppermint Lattes, and then out to go shopping. Below is me with the Khmer Santa and his tuk tuk sleigh, --again their best attempt. Love it.
A few weekends back we had our Asian Hope staff Christmas party at one of our favorite restaurants. This evening is always a treat when we all gather together from 6 different ministries and celebrate with one another. Below is me with Chenda Ban, (who Chris and I work with daily). Love her. Chris also was lucky enough to win a prize from the Lucky Draw at the end of the night. Lucky Draws are incredibly popular here in Cambodia, and everyone waits anxiously to see if they won. Two of my staff won, which made the crowd around me and Chris buzz with excitement. Then when his name was drawn the uproar begun as he claimed his prize. The excitement of the Lucky Draw as said by one of the teachers for 2Five2, "was so exciting he could barely keep his heart in his chest when I knew 3 of the winners."
Now to last Saturday, we hosted our Annual Christmas Cookie Decorating and Beverage party in our little apartment. We celebrated, decorated, ate, and enjoyed the festivities with some of our dear friends. We love when people gather together - laugh, tell stories, and enjoying the season. It was great to have little kiddos running around and decorating cookies. The only problem was when the 1 1/2 year old locked herself into our bedroom and we had to get the landlord to help us get her out. This party has become a fun way for us to usher in Christmas Day.
And finally our Christmas church service, we attended the large joint Christmas service last Sunday as we got to spend the morning singing carols of the birth of Jesus, and hear of the goodness of God and the gift of His perfect Son. If you are a Christmas card photo kind of person, here is ours...
An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). -- Matthew 1:20-23