The country is riding a wave. It is Chinese New Year and the streets have been flooded with lanterns, with children out of school, with carts full of all the bright red nian huo (New Year merchandise). As much as it can be hard to watch many of our friends leave for warmer climates during these few weeks, we have found a special contentment in being in the midst of all the celebrating. It is restful, in a way that our own all-important Christmas holiday is not. It is beautiful, watching such a rich culture and all the ways they celebrate the good gifts of life that God has intended-- family, food, joy, unity, blessing, provision. There are traditions and stories abundant that far exceed many of the ways I celebrate in my own life.
And it feels like nothing short of a privilege to be here. To be invited in to any degree, to witness and share in the lives of our friends here, and to watch strangers from afar, to be moved and burdened, to be a fellow laborer in lifting up before the throne of God all that needs crying out for in this country.
Often in our life here, I feel small, inhibited, crippled even in being able to do much good. At the very same time, there is a sense of immense blessing and responsibility. The word privilege in my mind, cannot be overused.
To know a friend's loneliness as she heads back to her family with all of its strains and pressures. To know the mother and father who are standing like faith-filled pioneers as they show their parents and neighbors what it means to love their child diagnosed with Down-Syndrome, to see the orphans with extreme disabilities lining the hallways, to tell of real and lasting Hope and Peace to an old woman in the mountains, to pass our grumpy neighbor everyday and offer a kind smile and a prayer in my head for whatever ails him, to walk the streets and ask for Light in dark places; these and so much more are like treasures entrusted to us.
This sweet and special time of year, this holiday with all of it's focus on going home, returning to your family, celebrating togetherness, feels like no better time than to lift this place up and pray for the family in China, for the coming Home of so many who are lost. As they come together, they are hurting and torn apart, and who of us doesn't know this to some degree in our own families? This is our highest hope and greatest need, to know reconciliation and real Love, with our God and with one another. #prayforchina.