...we had been here 3 weeks. We had been in our apartment for 2 weeks. We had no idea what we were doing. I was still in shock, having been uprooted and transplanted at a time that used to feel so familiar, so tradition-filled, so much like home.
We had two daughters outside the womb, and had just found out, this morning, a year ago today, that a third little one was going to come in September. It was a sweet Christmas gift after months of trying.
A year ago today, I thought I was doing fine, but now realize just how out of it I was. Newly displaced. Newly replaced? Newly pregnant. Newly aware of my weaknesses and overwhelmed by my sin. Newly desperate for the grace that came to earth on Christmas Day, 2000+ years ago.
Today, settled in our home a year+ in, things are quiet, less shocking, beautiful, friend-filled and joy-filled. Today I am not pregnant, but delighting in my still somewhat new-born babe. Today we are far more aware of the traditions we are cultivating with a four and two year old who can answer questions and process what's going on around them and delight in "Jesus's Birfday!" Today I am still desperate for the grace that came to earth in a baby, a light to lighten the Gentiles and to live and die for those He came to save. I love the image in the old hymn, "While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks by Night" of the Angel who appears to these humble sheep herders and blasts the triumphant announcement:
"To you in David's town this day is born of David's line/ A Savior who is Christ the Lord and this shall be a sign/ A heavenly babe you there shall find to human view displayed,/ All meanly wrapped in swaddling bands and in a manger laid."
Hallalujia! Hallelujia! Hallelujah! Christ is born!
A year ago today, they had just arrived. Jonathan's brother, his beautiful wife and their precious baby boy. He was only four months old. About Ada's age now. And they had flown across oceans and continents to welcome us to our new, foreign home and to be with us at Christmas. AirFrance lost their luggage (shocking...NOT). They had used most of it to bring extra treats for us and the girls during the holidays, anyway. They came to bring joy and light to a Christmas that would have otherwise been, I imagine, lonely and hard. I meant to post this a year ago. (A YEAR AGO, Anne W. A YEAR AGO. You are not that behind. ;) ) So here it is. When Mary Stuart, Joel and Oliver came to visit.
They got here after a grueling 24+ hours of travel time. With an infant. They were cheerful and up and ready to go! They were flexible and gracious to these people who had no idea what we were doing or where to find things or what restaurants to go to or who foods to cook in our new city. They even helped us arrange travel plans with some friends who were also in the area.
Cuddling with Aunt MS and Oliver on the couch by the tree.
Touring the city the day after they arrived! Troopers!
Annie and Oliver cuddle in bed.
The day after Christmas, we traveled to some villages nearby in our state, then to an ancient city. We took a small travel bus, the 11 of us, and it was actually quite an adventure. Most of the roads were full of enormous potholes, so what should have been about 6 hours turned into 12 or 14...
Climbing the rocks in a village nearby.
Getting ready for our trip. Oliver is prepared in carseat and shades.
We spent our first night at a little hotel the guidebook recommended. We were newbies. We didn't know. It was vile. Please call me before you book reservations at the
Sri Lakshmi Golden Beach Resort.
our mosquito netted bed.
The bugs in our bathroom.
Annie's bed with no sheets that she did not sleep in on the floor with no mosquito net. She slept with us.
Stops along the way.
We kept pulling over to take pictures at the incredible, gorgeous, ancient ruins just sitting on the side of the road.
Annie learns to pose from our friend Alexandra
An ancient temple. Doesn't it look like the Jungle Book? I think Kipling modeled the monkey palace after this place. It was gorgeous.
When we got back home, Joel busted out the gingerbread men and helped the girls decorate them. He and Mary Stuart brought them all the way from the states for the girls.
What a good uncle!
Then we went to the zoo! That was amazing. The girls and I pose here with a hippo.
And then to Mysore, where the king lives.
We rode an elephant.
It was super fun.
Our first family elephant ride.
Jonathan and Joel practiced their S. Asian cultural awareness.
They brought gifts and gingerbread men and green sprinkles for the Christmas tree bread. They brought great, flexible, adventurous attitudes. They brought sweet little Oliver. They didn't haggle me when I never posted about it on the blog. They brought a little familiarity and family to us at Christmastime and I will never forget how that made everything a little easier, sweeter, more memorable and real.
So a year ago today, I'm thanking God for an incredible year. I am thanking him that this is our second Christmas, and not our first. And I'm thanking him for the Atl Iversons who came to make the first Christmas bearable and wonderful and beautiful and merry and bright.