Have You Seen? {December 15th, 2019}

Last Week’s Theme: Regional Traditions

The Best and the Worst by Maria Mullet—”It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Perhaps Charles Dickens was living his first Christmas abroad when he wrote those words. He sure could have been. I was only two months into my current overseas assignment when Christmas hit me like a 10-foot pole. It was both the best and the worst. It was my first Christmas living abroad alone, no family within thousands of miles, every face around me new. Nearly every place unexplored territory. All the home I long for at Christmas seemed missing.”

Rachel’s Top Five of 2019 {Book Club} by Rachel Kahindi—”I can easily get sucked into reading a lot of forgettable fiction. I consume it in a few relaxing hours and forget almost everything about the book within days. One easy fiction book fades into another. I have to be intentional about my book choices to make sure that my reading is not only enjoyable but also feeds my mind – even if it’s easy fiction. How do you choose books intentionally? I was intentional in a few specific ways this year.”

Diving Hard Into Mooncakes by Emily Jackson—”Not many holidays give us space for sadness, but Mid-Autumn embraces the feeling of homesickness and longing. Maybe that’s why the holiday burrowed so deeply in my heart. It was the perfect holiday for celebrating where I was while mourning where I wasn’t. I could be happy that I was in China but still be homesick for the U.S. Perhaps that’s why Mid-Autumn Festival meant so much to me. Maybe even more than it did to many of my Chinese friends, whose families were across town instead of an ocean away.”

Strong Men Support Strong Women {Choose to Lose} by Denise Beck—”Usually when we say strong we think of men. I am so grateful for the strong men in my life. (My spaghetti jars are thankful as well). I am so challenged by their character, their conviction, the way they aren’t afraid of hard things (or mice). My husband is one of them. However it’s not when he is visibly strong in front of others that I see his strength, it’s when he notices the strength in others and isn’t afraid to show it to them. When he tells my daughter he sees her struggle and is proud of her. When he sits with a college student and says he is cheering for her and will support her whatever direction she chooses because he trusts her character. When he wants to be the first one to put a Velvet Ashes sticker on his water bottle because he is so proud of the women who serve overseas.”

Seasonal Disorientation {The Grove: Regional Traditions} by Laura Cerbus—”And on another level, I’m given the opportunity to think about Advent separate from the celebration of winter. To ask, what’s this season all about? What does it mean to celebrate Advent and Christmas primarily as a Christian, not a Northeastern American?  I don’t mean to suggest that our celebrations be purely spiritual, divorced from the very physical bodies we are and the very physical world, and cultures, we live in. But rather, that when we are disoriented by time and place, our disorientation provides an opportunity for us to look for and hold on to the things that are true no matter where we are.” 

From Around the Web

5 Books for Advent Reading

Praying with Guests in Your Home

Multicultural Holiday Gifts: A Guide for Giving

Noteworthy on Instagram: How Do You Help Your TCK Struggling to Love the Culture and Advent Hope

Finally, An Ebenezer For When We Forget

And Now For Next Week

The theme is…

They watch your kids so you can take a much-needed date night, tell you when it’s time to take those parasite meds, or sit with you when the culture shock or ministry disappointments feel like too much.

Our team can be like our adopted family when we are very far away from relatives and friends during the holidays and throughout the year.

What do you do with your team to celebrate? Are there cookie baking extravaganzas, pajama parties or Christmas Eve services huddled together in a living room?

We love hearing about your traditions!

What traditions have you started with your teammates near and far while living cross-culturally? Share your images on Instagram this week using the hashtag #VelvetAshesTraditions. Tag your teammates and thank them for all they have done for you this year and make sure they check out our posts this week too!

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