Sunday, December 25, 2011

Our Last Christmas?

Photo credit: paulabflat from morguefile.com


I recently received a Christmas e-card from our team leaders in Austria. When we arrive in Vienna, they will be our mentors and guides as we adjust, learn the language and begin ministry. In the card, they wrote a short note that struck me: they encouraged us to enjoy our last Christmas in the States.

I hadn't really thought much about it until it was put into words...that this hopefully and probably will be our last Christmas in the U.S. for awhile. With that realization comes a lot of mixed emotions. Hope and excitement that in less than one year, we will begin the journey for which God has been preparing us. Sadness that the next holiday season may the first of many spent away from our families. Anticipation of new cultural experiences, new traditions and new relationships.

But with all of this also comes the realization that we might still be here next Christmas. God's timeline is not always the same as ours and He could keep us here for longer. That would be difficult...but we need to rest in the fact that God's timing is always perfect. If His timeline is longer than what we are hoping for to get to Austria, He will surely use it for good and for His glory, to continue teaching and molding us.

When Christ came into the world, it was at exactly the right time. Romans 5:6, 8 says, "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly....But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." This verse is a good reminder of God's providence and sovereignty. Just as Christ came at the right time, so our future and our journey is in God's hands and will happens when He wants it to.

This may or may not be our last Christmas in the States for awhile. But I know that we will arrive in Austria at just the right time.