We arrived into London early on Saturday after some nice flights full of sleeping, reading, and watching movies. Our flights went well, until the last five minutes as we were landing into Heathrow–a man at the back of the plane got up and started shouting, “Help! Help!” and claiming he was being attacked. He was quite feisty with the stewardesses and ultimately they just let him run up and down the aisles while the plane landed. I’m sure he would have been arrested on an American airline, but since we were in Asia, they didn’t seem interested in the confrontation.
My only other complaint was that in fulfilling my request for a vegetarian meal it was dangerously assumed I didn’t want dessert. Being vegetarian in no way makes me less interested in sweets. Thankfully, Chris and Jenn have an affinity for chocolate and had some waiting for us in the car at 9am.
We arrived back to Chris and Jenn’s house to find a box full of treats waiting for us: chapstick, creamy lotion, slippers, socks, new earrings, and of course, more chocolate! They had warm pajamas and sweaters and boots waiting for us.
The week has been full of Christmas-y activities, including ice skating, a Christmas photo scavenger hunt, and some shopping. It’s always a holiday when sisters can try on the same clothes at great stores like Gap.
We visited Chatsworth, a lovely home outside of Sheffield that is probably best known to Americans for being Pemberly–Mr. Darcy’s estate–in the newest version of Pride & Prejudice. Despite being bitterly cold and muddy, it was fun to visit and see the Christmas decor; and then to see it a few days later while watching Death Comes to Pemberly, a BBC special we’ve been watching.
We have spent quite a bit of time with Chris’ family and celebrated Christmas with them. We opened packages from our family and his family, packages from the States and England. All of this has been enjoyed over some delicious meals, a variety of cheeses, chocolates of all kinds, and eggnog; we’ve had some nice walks and enjoyed the bitterly cold air. We have had warm showers every morning and spend every day under many layers of clothing.
I’m not sure we could ask for more.
Before we left Mae Sot, I was talking with a friend over Skype and telling her of our hopes for England; how much we just hoped for really deep rest in the midst of so many difficult things. I found myself reassuring her–we do love our lives here, we do see God working, and we do find such joy in our community. But I wanted rest.
She wisely replied, “I think you find plenty of joy in your neighborhood, but I don’t think you find a lot of peace.”
Precisely. This year has lacked peace, and we are just looking for a peaceful rest. We are praying for it. And I can honestly say I feel rested in a way I haven’t in such a very long time.
We went to a carol service last week, and they ended with this blessing:
May the joy of the angels
the eagerness of the shepherds
the perseverance of the wise men
the obedience of Joseph and Mary
and the peace of the Christ child be yours this Christmas
And the blessing of God almighty
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
be upon you and remain with you always
This has been my prayer over this Christmas. My prayer for us; my prayer for our family scattered around the world; my prayer for our friends back in Mae Sot.