on being loved. . .
It is the word on the necklace given to me by my best friend, and the all-consuming feeling that envelops us as we walk this part of our journey in the United States.
We move, wandering nomads from house to house, bed to bed. We pack our tiny car, expertly, to the brim, and drive, miles upon miles upon miles to the places where we are enveloped in havens of hope, of tender care, of deep reflection, of undeniable kinship.
Today I woke to bright sun beaming through our Christmas haven on the coast, and I though of Mary, Joseph, and the tiny Christ Child, wandering far from home. . .I have read some commentaries on the reality of the Christmas story – that this mom, burdened with an incredible and difficult call on her life, was probably enveloped into a community of distant relatives and friends that helped bring her tiny babe into the world. . .that the manger was a trough in an ancestral home, filled with people who had likewise come to Bethlehem for the census. And then strangers, shepherds, appear out of nowhere, with testimony to the weight of glory in this humble birth – speaking of angel armies and excited beyond reason at the work that God will do through him.
Peace on Earth.
God with us.
We are loved.
We have felt this love, the excitement and care of those who care the joy and difficulties of life in Kijabe with us – the strangers who care for us and buoy us with their enthusiasm, the family who make or nomadic existence possible, the community that rallies to make our journey possible. We have felt love for the people and children where we live and work. We have felt the joy of shared burden and grace undeserved.
This year and every year, we live in the center of this Christmas miracle – that when His angel army appeared in the sky 2000 years ago, they did not declare war, but peace. . .they declared it then, and still say now – that in Atlanta and Birmingham and North Carolina and Kijabe – in America and Kenya – that God so loved the world he sent this baby Emmanuel to be God with us.
God is still with us.
And we are all loved.
love to you all from the wandering Shirks. . .we wish you a merry, merry Christmas.