Christmas is eight (EIGHT!) days away, and it doesn’t seem possible. Even though the weather here at GGA hasn’t been quite so summery most days (often it is 70ish and drizzly/rainy), it is in fact summer. The kids are out of school and looking for every opportunity to swim in the pool or the water slide here at GGA. Flip flops and sundresses are everywhere, and you couldn’t find a sweater to buy if your life depended on it.

Yet, it is Christmas time. And it is a little strange.

Everywhere we go, the same Christmas music you are listening to in the States is playing (isn’t wonderful weather for a sleigh ride, South Africans?!) and the decorations include snowflakes. Even our local Spar (grocery store) has window-spray snow. It seems that the Westernized, secularized version of Christmas is alive and well here in South Africa. But mostly,  it feels like June 8th to us…

The only exception is this….

Our Christmas Corner!! (We have stockings too, and every night we light of this corner of happy it feels like half-way across the world is much closer)

A few weeks ago, we got a super fun surprise from my (Julie’s) parents- the Christmas Tree! It actually is black, and then they sent us all the green sparkly ornaments. No, it isn’t traditional, but it matches our wedding colors and is super fun! Then this week we got another amazing package, filled with sweet ornament from friends and family from FUMC Silverton. It really was so special, and made us feel super loved, prayed for, and cared about. For years to come we are going to be reminded of all the incredible things God has done to bring us to this place, our Christmas with “the kids”, and all the beautiful people in our lives supporting us in this time.

It really is a good reminder of what Christmas is all about. Even though we won’t be with blood family this Christmas, and it feels like June 8th rather than December 17th, we have much to rejoice about! Jesus was born to bring Hope to the Hopeless, and through that miracle (and others) we are all family–in Texas and in South Africa–and our hope is in Him and not in feelings.

Here are just a few of the special ornaments we received.

From my sister! Shiny and sparkly, just like her :)

We love our Texas themed ornaments…and more sparkly happy ones.

One of several nativity ornaments!

I love this one so much :)

Guardian Angel feathers.

More Nativity.

YES WE ARE!

Thank you, Jesus.