A First and Foreign Christmas

Our first Christmas out of our home country is fast approaching. There is certainly no snow, no Christmas lights on houses, no nativity scenes. The more Westernized shopping malls have decorations and sales for Christmas – but only trees and reindeer…here and there an angel or star.

When we recognized the chords to “What Child Is This”, our second time at church and the first Sunday of December, we were caught by surprise and our eyes filled with tears.

Beautiful poinsettias at the Royal Park (December 2017)

We brought stockings and Advent stars. We have no oven to bake our traditional treats, but we did find a small fiber-optic Christmas tree. Our friends also gave us a little toy nativity set. We did manage to find ingredients for one recipe that doesn’t require an oven. And we’re feeling far, and literally are far, from family and friends back home.

“They’re singing deck the halls, but it’s not like Christmas at all.” We were at Big-C (Walmart equivalent) when we heard this song come over the intercom. We chuckled and nodded in agreement.

An oven-free Christmas tradition- chocolate covered pretzels! (December 2017)

Though the challenges are many, we are thrilled that it is the same J we celebrate. When everything else looks and feels completely different, He is still our Emmanuel, “G with us”. He is still the fulfillment to all Messianic prophecies. He came once as a suffering servant and will return as the King of Kings!

Living in a foreign country is one way G reminds us of this reality and grows our longing for Him and His return. This world is not our home, and He who came and will come again knows and understands that completely.

And just in case you were wondering, we’re excited to have an oven by next Christmas 😉

AND look forward to the arrival of those packages in-transit (Thank you! Thank you! Thank you family and friends! You know who you are 😉

Family Christmas photo at the orchid exhibit in Royal Park (December 2017)

Merry Christmas to all our family and friends around the world! We love you and indescribably miss celebrating our Savior together with you in this season.

With warm weather hugs and blessings in the new year,

The Harder Family (D + S + W)