Christmas is coming, but it doesn't feel like it. Christmas in Cambodia is definitely different to Christmas in Australia. Yes, the commercialism is starting to creep in, especially in some of the larger stores. You can now buy tacky Christmas decorations, Christmas trees, and even some Christmas cards. As I have watched friends posting on Facebook about setting up Christmas trees and decorating, and even buying "Back-to-School" supplies, I have felt twinges of wishing for Christmas at home, but then I remember how long it takes to get there and back again (and the cost), and I think that I rather just stay here and enjoy the peace and the break from the everyday routine.
It's hard to get excited about Christmas when you know that you are single. Christmas is much more fun when little children are involved. Yes, I do enjoy celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus, but I sometimes fear that this purpose is lost to much of the world where Christmas is celebrated. I'm also wondering if it's OK to share the real reason for Christmas with my students. My heart desperately wants to do this, to set up a Nativity in the classroom, and to read the real Christmas story to my children. I guess I'd better put this on the list of things I have to talk to the principal about. I don't want to deny the other parts of Christmas, and am happy to decorate the classroom with other Christmas characters as well, but I need to be able to share His love with my students. That's why I'm here. God will guide me through this Christmas season, and it will be just the Christmas He wants it to be.
One day at a time. That's all God asks me to handle. He gives the strength for each day, as the day comes. I want to praise Him that He has given me the strength for each day this week as they have come. He has guided me through each day, and ensured that the children have been learning things along the way. He guided me as I allowed the children to share their experiences of the Water Festival holiday, including the tragedy. Cambodian television did not sanitise the shocking images that were shown on the local television stations, and they were played over and over again, with no apparent thought that children might be watching this as well as adults. Some of my students have seen things no child should have to see. Pray that they will not suffer as a result of this. Pray that I will continue to be sensitive to them in relation to this.
As my body continues to fight off the germs that have been attacking it, it is a reminder of the need to take care of our bodies. They are his temple, and so we need to respect them. I pray that He will help me to do just that in the coming days and weeks. God, you have given me so many good things that I do not deserve. Thank You. Please help me not to complain when tougher times come along, but to lean on You and Your everlasting, unchanging love.