Posted by: abbiewatters | December 6, 2012

Advent One – Thursday

1 Thessalonians 3:1-13.

As Big Al and I approach this Christmas far away from old friends and family, I am very sympathetic to Paul, left wondering about his church in Thessalonica. In all the time we’ve been married, we’ve never spent Christmas with no family around us. Some years, the actual day of Christmas was alone, but we had either just seen family in the last month, or were anticipating seeing them in the next month. Even living all over the world, as we have, we’ve always had somebody – our children – cousins – aunts and uncles – somebody. We knew this would happen when we opted to move so far away, but that doesn’t make the season any less poignant.

This Christmas, I’m much more aware of other folks who are alone, and (introvert that I am) will still make the effort to step outside my comfort level, and connect with those around me – particularly those who also may be alone.

I remember the first year we were in Germany, we only had Ray for family near us, but we invited a couple of airmen that Al worked with to have dinner with us. We can’t do that this year – I’m not cooking and besides there isn’t room enough in our apartment for anyone else. We’ll be going out to dinner – we have reservations at the Lobster Pot where we can look out at the water and remind ourselves why we wanted to be here.

But Franke Tobey Jones does its best to make us feel at home here. There’s an open house in all three buildings with cookies, festive drinks and live music on Saturday, then a dinner for all the residents of independent living next Wednesday, followed by a children’s party on Friday that we invited a family from church to come to with us. Our building has Happy Hour every Friday afternoon, and Al and I are taking Gluehwein on the 21st. We have our Christmas decorations up in the apartment, and there are lovely decorations all over the campus.

Bethany Pres also has lots of activities available. We had our Fair Trade Christmas Sale last Sunday, there’s Hanging of the Greens this Friday, the Bethany Players are presenting “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on the 16th, and there’s a caroling party one evening. We shouldn’t be too bereft, but it will be a poignant time.

I pray for all those other folks who are far from family this Christmas, and hope they, like Paul, have good news of distant friends.

How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face.

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