Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas will feel different ...

Yesterday was the last day of school for our kids before the beginning of Christmas vacation... it comes a week earlier here in Portugal than it did in Italy. I love Christmas vacation with our family! If on their summer school break, we enjoy being outdoors - picnicking, going to the beach, taking walks - our Christmas vacation time has always been characterized by staying up late at night and sleeping in in the morning, playing card games and board games together, doing puzzles, watching lots of movies, eating haphazard meals and just enjoying each others' company.

Christmas will feel different this year - we're in a new country, in a new house, with Whitney far away in the States (she'll be spending it with Denny's family in Lancaster, Pa. If you live there, try to see her!)... and in times like this, I feel the weight of the transition a bit more.

Looking back, I remember our first years in Italy - with no children of our own, no family around us, and not very many good friends to spend Christmastime with. My first Christmas celebrations in Europe weren't
really easy ones, but slowly we gave birth to a family of our own, we built deeper friendships, we developed our own traditions and the Christmas season came to feel more "ours" and less something foreign.

Yet, I can't help but think that Jesus' coming into the world as a man, as a child, has an awful lot to do with being a stranger in a strange land. How contrary must it have felt to our God's nature, to come into this world full of sin as a fragile child? How foreign must the very young Mary have felt giving birth to a child, conceived by the Holy Spirit, in a barn... in a town far from her home and family.

I find myself feeling so thankful once again for all that God has done since we've moved here to Portugal. Our house has come to feel like a home so quickly and the depths of the friendships that we so enjoy are surprising after such a short time. Our home is warmed by such a sense of "family" and of "community", there always s
eems to be someone extra around our table or sleeping in one of our spare beds when I wake up in the morning. God is so faithful to His promises...

"I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first." Mark 10:29-31.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What to blog about

I'm having a hard time getting into this blogging thing. Oh well, maybe it will get easier and I'll do it more frequently, but then again....maybe it won't (where are those smiley things on this program?).
Anyhow, things a
re moving on with TRIPLET. This weekend, they have two gigs in Lisbon. The first is for another local band that played at their CD release party and so now this band, ENDAY, has invited them to play at their EP release. They seem to be putting alot of effort into this party, which will also feature some Portuguese actress. Anyhow, I hope that this will be a good opportunity to share the love of Jesus with ENDAY, as well as all those who come.
The other gig could possibly be one of the most important gigs to help get more exposure in this country for the band. They will be opening up for Portugal's most popular hardcore band, MORE THAN A THOUSAND. This i
s a great opportunity and we're praying that it will open up many more doors for TRIPLET here.
Ben is working
on editing the video, but with the gigs and other stuff (like him getting sick), it doesn't look like there will be a December release of it, like we had hoped. He says that it's coming out great, so we can't wait to see it and see how God will use it.
As most of y
ou know, Alana & Isaac were extras in the video along with alot of other TRIPLET fans. They acted out being TRIPLET in the video and here are a couple still shots of that.
Isaac actually wants to get into doing tv commercials, so it would be cool if this helps him get into that field (giving a cut to his parents, of course...I really do need to figure out how to use emoticons in this blog).