Rach's Ramblings

Thoughts from another world

Christmas Monkeys

Photo Credit – Ben Bowling

I’ve been watching the monkeys play this morning and thinking about Christmas. There is a huge family of grey languor monkeys capering in the trees and they remind me of our Christmas last year in Australia. 12 boys cousins frolicking on the trampoline, wrestling, running, wreaking joyful havoc.
This year is quieter and more reflective and in essence absolutely beautiful.
There are still many pesky monkeys in my mind- to do lists, thoughts about what to make for dinner, worries about my health as I have been bed ridden with a bad back. Josh is also sick with a good old stomach bug.
But the mind monkeys are loudly drowned by the excitement of Advent. I have felt it as never before, in all my 37 years. The hope that is coming beckons to me around every corner. It is there when I wake up and when I go to sleep. The hope that the King brings, coming as a helpless baby and born into a simple dirty manger, is there in the Winter sun, the huddling close to the fire and the cuddles of my boys.  Winter Christmas has so many blessings. We draw in rather than running out. We spend quiet evenings before the fire and read stories. We have time to dwell on God with us.
I am filled with excitement and anticipation and a deep inner peace. My Christmas pasts have been filled with excellent things, each special in its own way and all completely unmissable. I wouldn’t have missed the carols by candlelight, the break ups of every activity, going to see the Christmas lights. But these joyful busy things drowned out the echo of the coming King. We fought to bring Jesus as central to Christmas, but it was a fight- and here in India this Christmas there has been no battle.

There is a complete absence of materialism- no advertisements screaming dissatisfaction from the television, no shops to walk through and see all the things that I suddenly really need.  School has finished and the mountain has been emptied of its students, each to their own country. The mornings are hushed and still as the sun peeks over the mountains and the bazaar is quietly sleeping with cold. There is one shop, the stationary shop, that gives a nod to Christmas with a gawdy selection of decorations, but the rest of the bazaar is devoid of display. And I don’t miss it one bit.
The few families left on the hillside will celebrate together tonight and we have enjoyed some play dates with them – but even those, we walk to without the battle of Christmas traffic.
This is not to say that our Christmas is perfect or even better. There are benefits to both sorts of Christmas. The absence of family here is deeply felt and irreplaceable.  But, I am relishing this Christmas as it is given to us. A gift of being able to stop and rest and reflect. And a chance to remember that the amazing present God gives us is the gift of His presence.