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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Celebrating Bundibugyo Style

It’s snowing on the equator—on the Rwenzori peaks, and down here in the tropical stew of our house, where about a hundred snow-flakes dangle on fishing line from the ceiling. If you’re Norwegian, living in Africa is no impediment to a traditional white dinner complete with lefsa and rice pudding and Scandinavian almond cookies. Our team of 27 celebrated together tonight, by candlelight, feasting, reading lessons and listening to carols. The men had formed a seasonal choral group to lead us in worship. Michael put together a series of songs and scriptures and meditations taking in the sweep of creation, incarnation, and heavenly glory. And we ended the night with a dance party: from the Elf Boogie to Joy to the World in a rap beat, exuberant dancing together, a foretaste of the REAL PARTY to come. If you haven’t danced to Christmas carols with Jack (who dances like someone who is growing up in Africa) or Gaby (who wears a ballet leotard to get in the mood), then you haven’t danced.

It isn’t all fun and games, there are still needy people all around us, friends we care about and strangers we pity. There is still the reality of desperation from those scraping together their money for clothes and meat on Christmas. There is still the fact that it takes a lot of work to plan and bake and clean and celebrate with no conveniences, stores, washing machines, vacuum cleaners.

But for a night the community of fellowship, the looking towards Heaven, lifted us out of all the muck of Bundibugyo. For that we are grateful.

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