• ashirk@gmail.com
  • Kijabe, Kenya


 The past 3 days have been a wonderful celebration of family – the  realization of a new generation as our children play as old friends, and we wait with expectation for Ashley’s new little girl in a few short weeks. David and I look around and we feel the culmination of years of dreaming. My sisters and I are women, with families and careers and lives of our own that merge in a controlled chaos for a few days a year to recount memories and settle into the safety of my parent’s home. As we sit around the table, laughing as santa Yoda enters the Christmas story to tell Mary there is no room in the inn, we are relaxed –  and I can see the phantom of the years rolling out as our children grow and our lives settle into routines and new realities.
We are family, and it is wonderful.But our looming reality creeps into the quiet moments and comfort of tradition – in the Candlelight Service, I wedged myself between my sisters as we sang Silent Night – and with one brain we playfully mouthed the German first verse, unsure of the words – then swung our candles side to side like we were at a concert  for the second.  The tears streamed down my face as we waited for mom’s disapproving look only to see her tears matched mine. And, at that moment, a quick slap to my rear from one of my sisters sent me into peals of laughter as the song ended.

It is a Christmas of joy, of goodbyes, and of sacred moments.  I cling a little longer in hugs, and talk a little less than my family is used to, ponder the journey of wisemen and shepherd’s to a fantastic unknown. . .I wonder what Emma will look like in her Christmas dress next year and what words my nephew Oliver will have learned – I wonder what 80’s reference will enter the story of the Christ Child as the family retells it. I wonder and hope that there will be a place in Kijabe to find such joy and rest.

A bit of my heart is in Kenya this year, but most of it is here with family – and next year I know a bit of theirs will be in Africa with us.

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