Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas in Poland

I enjoyed a traditional Polish Christmas with my friends in Katowice.
Some of you know Jurek and his sister and their parents. They were very generous in welcoming me into their home to share the season with them. I have acquired a new love for the famous beetroot soup. The best so far was what Ania prepared on Christmas eve, served over yummy mushroom-filled perogies. The evening of Dec. 24 is the main family gathering and traditionally no meat is served. Instead the main course is fish. The carp was delicious, even though we had to fight with the bones a bit. After dinner we sang Polish carols. One of them I have now heard several times and it is constantly ringing in my head - a very catchy tune. After the carols we had tea and cakes - several different kinds - and then we opened presents. I was surprised to receive several gifts but pleased to be made to feel so much a part of the family. Tomek, Ania's very kind and thoughtful son, passed out the gifts. Ania received a very classy hat and glove set from her brother.

On Christmas day there was a church service in the morning and I was invited to share a brief word. I shared a few thoughts and told the story of the 3 trees. But the highlight of the service were the testimonies that were shared by the children as part of their Christmas presentation. What a touching thing to hear young children speaking sincerely 0f their love for Jesus and their desire to serve Him!
On 'second Christmas' ( the second day of Christmas, Boxing Day to Canadians), I had the delight of going to lunch with my dear friend Radek, who I had met the first time I came to Poland. We found a Pizza Hut that was open and ate a nice meal while talking and talking and talking. It was a really good visit.
The next day I jumped on a train to travel the hour and a half to the town of Skoczow to vist my friend Renia. Renia was a member of our team in Moldova up until a few months ago so this was a good chance to touch base with her and to see how she has been doing in readapting to life at home. Her parents were very hospitable and her mother kept serving us with delicious food while she and I talked and talked and talked for hours. Then she walked me back across town to the train station and I headed back to Katowice.

On Sunday once again I shared a very brief thought from the pulpit and also sang a song. After the service I reconnected with a really nice family who have kept in contact with me since the first time I came to Poland. It was great to see them again and to hear of the interest of the two teenagers to come to Moldova maybe this summer. I hope my boss realizes how much recruiting I have been trying to do over this Christmas!!
This has been a good Christmas and of course it is always a joy to celebrate the birth of our Saviour and to be reminded that he is Emmanuel, "God with us". The difficult part of this Christmas, of course, has been being away from my kids and just missing them so much. I'm thankful for internet as I have had e-mail contact with Marah, chatted online with Joshua, and know a bit of what Ben is up to through Facebook. I love you all, my darlings. Today I saw a man with a very cute little granddaughter in hand and I started thinking about Eliana and what she will be like as she grows older. Suddenly I realized I was walking along the street with a silly grin on my face as I thought of the little princess and remembered how cute she is when she laughs!
In my next post I'll fill you in on my visit to Cracow...

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful Christmas you had! Beautiful pictures too, especially of Renia. :) I hope the rest of your break is restful and that this next year is a wonderful one for you, full of his blessings and presence. :)