A Christmas Message from the Missions Co-chairs:
One of our most rewarding tasks is that of staying in touch with our SMLLU graduates (currently referred to as DMAs, or Deferred Mission Appointees) who are serving in the developing world. Since we both remember the Christmas holidays we spent away from family traditions, we thought it would be fun to re-word the “Twelve Days of Christmas” song, inserting images that belong to their mission surroundings. We got several responses from those busy people!
As you may know, the “Twelve Days” was originally a song used to remind children of some basic teachings of Christianity. The “True Love” is God; the “Partridge in a Pear Tree” is Christ on the Cross, and so forth. Are we then, behaving disrespectfully when we suggest that such metaphors be supplanted? We don’t think so. As Dallas Willard says in his book The Divine Conspiracy, “The obviously well-kept secret of the ordinary is that it is made to be a receptacle of the divine, a place where the life of God flows.” (p. 14) The circumstances that produce such metaphors act as gates into a reality that is full of God, but in a guise we don’t immediately recognize. Yet, is not everything that affects us something He has allowed because it has the potential of drawing us closer?
We hope you enjoy this:
The Twelve Days of Christmas
Twelve children laughing,
Eleven hippos grunting,
Ten crocs a-snapping,
Nine elephants charging,
Eight boreholes pumping,
Seven m’squitos biting,
Six dirt roads treading,
Five mango trees!
(Unfortunately, the doctor had to tend to something a little more serious at this point…)
Twelve in a taxi,
Eleven months “in country”
Ten babies screaming,
Nine ladies chopping,
Eight days, no power,
Seven spaghetti omelets,
Six bowls of fufu,
Five insect bites;
Four bucket baths,
Two palm trees,
And a missionary far from home!
Twelve talking drums,
Eleven swadd’ld babies,
Ten dancing villagers,
Nine deep pot holes;
Eight head-ties bright,
Six village chiefs,
Five calls to prayer,
Three flying foxes,
Two happy patients,
And a horn-bill in a mango tree!
From Malawi: (To the tune of “Away in a Manger”)
Away in Malawi, I live with my clan,
My husband, two nannies, three boys, and I,
My husband works hard in the hospital here,
Does surg’ry and clinics, and cases galore!
The house we have fixed up, the roaches are dead,
Those mozzies can’t get through the net on our bed.
At night when the power’s out, by candles we dine,
And pray that the water still comes through the “line”!
We live near a village; my neighbors are sweet,
They grow and share garlic for us to eat.
But when Christmas comes, and the tree we erect,
Our motives for “decking the hall” we inspect!
Though sparkles and tinsel seem out of place here,
They remind us of family times down thru the years.
So—in hot, sticky weather, together we share—
With our neighbors, a portion of the blessings of “here”.
Our thanks to Janie Yoo, Trixy Colwell, Gail Gimbel and Shar Hayton whose contributions may have suffered a bit from our editing. Bless them all; pray for them. If you ever meet these excellent women, you will be as impressed as we are!