I wasn’t sure if we were going to pull this off this year…but as you can see below – the campus is full of Christmas Spirit & Lights Galore!!
In speaking with full transparency – I haven’t had much Christmas Spirit – even though everyone knows this is my favorite time of year. I have felt pretty numb the past few weeks. I’ve been on a journey to reclaim my JOY and it’s taken a lot longer than I thought it would.
This past weekend while we were having our Youth Staff Party – I got into a REALLY long conversation about our Campus Christmas Lights. I was told and I quote – “You are really breaking the heart of the town”.
Don’t you know that everyone is waiting for your lights? Don’t you know that people are watching you? When you put your lights up then we know two very BIG things. 1 – You must believe the worst is over because you are decorating and you wouldn’t want to ruin your things. 2 – It’s okay to have Joy now. It’s okay to stop grieving.
After I listened to them share their hearts with me – I went to talk to the “adult” staff. Surely those kids are just projecting their own feelings because they like it when we decorate.
Sure enough when I asked the adults I received this response: Oh yes. That’s very true. We’ve been waiting for YOU to show Joy so we can have permission to show it too.
Well if that ain’t a little slap in the face to WAKE UP! My long journey to find JOY is slowing down the process for everyone else. I’m not going to lie – my first response was to sob. I don’t ever want to be a stumbling block for anyone else….and honestly I thought I was “faking” my JOY fairly well.
When groups come to Haiti I often tell them a little story about what it means to be the Face of Jesus here. Yes we are His hands & feet….but you do those things on “your” time. You sign up to work in a soup kitchen – it fits your schedule. When you take a mission trip – you make sure that everything else is taken care of so you can come. Those aren’t bad things. It’s SO important to schedule your time so you can be intentional about your work for the Lord!
But to be the Face of Jesus – you can’t put it on your calendar. Let me ask you this: While you are being His hands and feet – – what is your face saying about who He is? I mean all of us can fake a smile. But the Face of Jesus is actually bigger than your face.
Numbers 6:24-25 : May The Lord bless you and keep you. May The Lord make His face shine upon you. And be gracious to you. May The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
If His face is shining upon you – then YOUR face should be shining upon the world. So… Is it? Can people tell that you are a follower of Christ by not only your actions but your attitude as you do those things?
Proverbs 15:13: A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
What does your heart say about your face? There is one thing that you can NOT fake – you can’t fake the face of Jesus! The Haitians will see right through it as they watch you. They KNOW true JOY and they can recognize it AND the counterfeit in all of us.
So all that to be said….I totally got called out on my fake Joy! And I’ve spent the last three days with my family & several staff members – decorating the courtyard like you see below!
Somehow in all our excitement for buying lights this past year – we forgot about getting enough extension cords! We’ve got tables/tubs full of lights and no way to plug them in! It’s okay….just means next year’s will be even brighter!
I’m not sure where your emotions are right now as you read this. Whether you’ve had to fake your JOY this season or whether you are totally beaming with the face of Jesus….
But might I suggest that either way – people are watching – taking their cues from you – maybe even waiting for you….. and none of us want to be a stumbling block – or a JOY BLOCKER – for others who are desperately searching for their JOY too.
Below are some pictures of our campus. It’s hard to get good pictures at night – and none of them can capture the true beauty! I know many of you who’ve been here are trying to picture in your mind where everything is…so I tried to put the pictures in order as you are passing the clinic – walking to the church – past the school – on to the orphanage – – all OUTSIDE THE GATE.
Then I came back through and got some close-ups of the big courtyard we just cleaned with the tractor & dump truck. There are gingerbread men jumping on a trampoline, on a seesaw, playing volleyball, jump roping, & playing basketball all along one side. Those displays along that side didn’t show well because the lights are “moving” and so they were blurry. But you can still see how festive that line of displays are even though it’s not clear.
Tomorrow begins our 10 Nights of Christmas Movies for the community! Let the JOY begin…