7 WEEKS. That is how long we wandered; suitcases still packed and living with precious families who let us invade their world for days and weeks at a time. Now we finally have a home (and a dog, and transportation, and some dishes, and a water filter and a myriad of other life essentials that make us feel a little more settled everyday). We are so excited as we continue our journey and spend our first holiday season in Kigali.
In the last month we have both begun the transition into feeling more and more at home and secure here. Everyday brings new challenges, but we adapt and feel more settled with every victory. From figuring out how to navigate buying a car together to finding Butterfingers at the grocery store, we are learning so much about how to love each other better and celebrate every moment. Really though, finding Butterfingers at the grocery store is truly a simple moment worth celebrating.
The last month has proven busy for both of us. I have been volunteering at a local prenatal and postpartum clinic for low resource moms as well as working on a variety of different health projects with new friends and connections here. Not to mention the seemingly thousands of errands and projects for life: setting up a home here takes more than I was expecting. Chase has been busy at work, spending long days getting to know the staff, the business, and the culture. Life here has found a purpose now for both of us. There is not much of a rhythm yet, but we are learning to build in routine and create space for work and rest. Simplicity is a new discipline for us, and we are leaning into a new season of understanding what it means to invest in the most important aspects of our days.
Thanksgiving was a wonderful weekend of food, new friends, and much needed time together. It didn’t feel quite like home—missing family and the changing leaves, pumpkins and apple cider—but it definitely felt special. We didn’t get to visit a corn maze or turn on the Thanksgiving Day Parade or watch football for an afternoon or eat leftovers for a week. It was all strangely but sweetly simple with just a few hours of good food and good friends. Also, side note: trying to explain Thanksgiving (what it means, why we do it, what exactly we’re celebrating?) to our Rwandan friends is rather difficult.
Now we move into the Christmas season and get ready to celebrate the birth of Christ! As someone who craves the comfort of the aesthetic to soothe the soul, a “simple” Christmas is hard to swallow. Our second hand tree with our eight little ornaments is not the expanse of beautiful seasonal décor I am used to. Especially coming from a family where my mom spends hours and days preparing our home to celebrate the Christmas season with the most beautiful trees (at least three) and garlands and nativities. But it is in this “simple” that I am reminded that the greatest gift, which this Advent we anticipate, was humbly sent in the most simple circumstances. The lights around town and in our homes help make warm celebration natural. The ivy and berries and candles and cocoa help to prime hearts for quality time together as a community. The carols and colder weather and Christmas baking add to precious memories of love and family. But it is truly in the most humble and simple environment that our Savior came into the world, and in our simplified environment this year we will celebrate all the same.
So as we expectantly rejoice in the birth and the coming of Jesus, we also rest and revel in our new simplicity. Our mismatched belongings that make up our sweet home bring us comfort in a new season of thankfulness and joy. Simplicity is not something that comes naturally in this season of holiday cheer and sugar cookies and presents and candy canes. Nor is it something that comes naturally to me in my desire to create home and to build our life. But as we all celebrate, in whatever way you and your family celebrate, let us remember the greatest and most remarkable Gift that came in the most simple of circumstances. And let us rejoice in His coming as we find sweet moments to lean in to whatever simplicity looks like for us this season and in the new year to come.