At some point not too long after his birth, Jesus' parents received instructions to rise in the night and flee into Egypt. As if being IDP's was not enough (Nazareth to Bethlehem), a post-partum plunge into being refugees as well, crossing borders, heading to a far country, one with historical overtones of oppression.
We are also on the post-Christmas path to Africa. In 48 hours we will be boarding a flight to Kenya via Amsterdam, with our suitcases and new piano keyboard (thanks to grandparents), with our peculiar assortment of essentials: a few books (but mostly a Kindle!), guitar, and computers and clothes and chocolate. Another pass through the portal into the unknown. New community, new job, new language, new school, new unspoken rules and unwritten protocols, new methods for shopping for food or finding fellowship.
Vacillating between numb and stressed, anxious and thankful. Said goodbye to all the cousins today, my sister and her husband, who have generously cared for us and rearranged their holiday to be with us. Talked to my aunt on the phone, with the sobering awareness that her health and age could mean that by next visit, she won't be here. Visits from two of the three close family friends (almost-parents) I grew up with. And as we sort and throw out and tie up and book boarding passes, half our heart (or more) remains with Luke, thinking about next term's classes and his new job and how he'll spend the next holiday.
But when I take a deep breath I can see God's provision. He sent the magi with their portable valuable gifts, gold and spices. Cash for the journey and setting up a new home. And He sends us with ours, too. An hour ago we had a phone call from the missions committee of a church we've never even visited: Scott's parents ended up moving across the country to the same town as the mother of the girl one of his med school classmates married, who reconnected us to that classmate and wife, who took our story to their church, who met this last week and decided to give us two very generous gifts. One for our support, and one for our vehicle, in fact the exact remaining amount we were hoping to receive before we left. After a Fall of marginal finances, which carries its own sort of doubt we are very grateful for the generous outpouring of the last month. The magi don't come until the crisis is at hand. This is the way God works.