Christmas this year was different from any other Christmas we have celebrated in the past. Being in a tropical country away from our loved ones, we didn’t feel very “Christmasy” this year. All of our Christmas decorations are also in our crate, that we won’t get until May or June. We had to be really intentional about bringing the meaning of Christmas into our home. We found a “Focus on the Family” advent calendar that used the Adventures in Odyssey shows to teach lessons having to do with the Christmas season. We also started a Jesse Tree, which studies a different person in Jesus’ family tree every day until Christmas. These things really helped us prepare our hearts and home for Christmas this year.
One tradition that Joy’s family has done every year that she can remember is Advent. Every Sunday leading up to Christmas the family would have a devotion and light a candle on the advent wreath. Then, right before Christmas, The entire family and friends would gather for an Advent meal and light all the candles on the wreath. Joy’s mom made sure that each one of her children had an advent wreath when they got married and started their own families, and it is Joy’s favorite family tradition. This year we decided to share this tradition with many of our friends and neighbors in Indonesia. We invited them to our home for a traditional American holiday meal and to share our Advent tradition with them. This was an awesome opportunity to share our hearts and love with our Muslim friends and neighbors. Everyone came and we had an amazing time explaining the different holiday dishes, sharing the Christmas story and answering many questions. We are honored and grateful for the experience.