Christmases in PNG are always different from year to year. Thankfully I am not much for sentimentality or traditionalism. Yes, I always decorate for Christmas. I generally listen to Christmas music off and on throughout the year. I really enjoy Christmas music. I used to design and print out my own Christmas cards, but that has gotten to be a little too much. So I purchased Christmas cards online in August, and got them ready before I headed back to PNG from furlough. I hope to send a document to the printer in Greenville (SC- where my parents live) here in the next few days. Mom and Dad will pick up the letter, stuff it in the prepared envelopes, and voila! Christmas cards. Since I am still planning to be back in the US for a few weeks next August and September (that will make 3 years in a row!), I hope to repeat the process.
Living on a large mission center, I am surrounded by dozens and dozens of other missionaries, many of them Americans, and so there are already a number of Christmas trees showing up in front windows. And the little grocery store here is playing Christmas music (which I prefer to what is usually playing over the speakers). The stores in town (Kainantu) have all decorated for Christmas too; and the national lady who rides with me to town every day said “Merry Christmas” to me yesterday when she got in the car. PNG nationals are generally gregarious, and their idea of celebrating Christmas is anything that draws a crowd. And in this relatively urban area, that means a rugby tournament. Thankfully, they’re not particularly interested in the involvement of “expats,” so this introvert is hoping for a nice quiet Christmas in my own little house a good ways from town. I will be taking 3 days off work too, although I have volunteered to be on-call here for the day. That usually doesn’t entail much other than keeping a VHF radio nearby. For me, a “merry” Christmas is quiet. Maybe that’s an oxymoron. I have some friends here on center, and today when Angie and I walked (which we do nearly every day), we were planning when I will go over and enjoy their family a little while. I do enjoy their company. Just another instance of the Lord’s delight in pampering His children.