The last two weeks have been a whole range of contrasting experiences. Since leaving home and heading out across the world to see family and friends in Britain we've had a blast, battled with jet lag, reacclimatised to European winter, seen people we haven't for over two years, been though LA, spent a day in Disneyland, eatend more than is healthy, survived two long haul flights, watched inordinate amounts of TV, written hundreds of Christmas cards, tried to connect with friends and, at times, felt a bit displaced but mostly have felt loved and encouraged.
We're all doing OK in the travelling and moving about. We loved the weekend we had in Los Angeles, the Saturday in Disneyland was a real highlight but we were disapointed that our schedule made it impossible to get to the Crystal Cathedral on the Sunday before we flew out. We had an 8 hour wait in Munich airport whilst transiting to Manchester, England. So my mother and father in law came to meet us for the day. We wondered arond Munich Christmas Market in a daze, and ate (in a daze) and tried not to sleep. It was brilliant to see them and a real kindness to us to be rescue from 8 hours in an airport when we were so tired and travel weary.
We arrived in Manchester airport at 10pm, picked up our hire car and got to Liverpool by 11pm. We were all shattered and much of the next two days were simply spent recovering. Then it was into communication mode - Ines and I both writing Christmas cards, seeing family, keeping the kids entertained (which Ines does amazingly well) and trying not to feel to cold in the midst of winter.
I preached at Church last Sunday and it was great to join Christchurch Liverpool for their morning service. The sermon was on "Jesus as Prophet" and for the curious it should be online soon. The afternoon was spent in the theatre with my mother, sister and sister-in-law and their children watching "Dr Doolittle" with an elderly man playing the romantic lead opposite a woman in her mid twenties - the age disparity led to a couple of cringy moments in an otherwise enjoyable kids musical.
Time is packed full and we are not going to do all the things we wanted to do in our time here. The kids are homesick for summer, our house and the other familiar things of home but we are all enjoying life here in Liverpool and looking forward to our time in Germany.
Christmas is around the corner (you really didn't need this blog to let you know that) and this is the most precious thing of all. We are getting to celebrate the birth of Jesus with family and friends that we may not get to celebrate with again for a number of years. I'm treauring every moment and enjoying it tremendously.
It is in days like this that you realise how amazing God is in providing every day. Amazing how he stepped from eternity and glory into time and ignominity - how he took on everyday life, so that we might know and experience the glory of forgiveness and eternal life. Amazing!
Praise God that this is as true in the UK as in NZ. The contrasts between the two make the global reality of the gospel all the more evident and all the more precious; resulting in me being all the more thankful! Praise the LORD for Jesus.