We’re almost halfway through Christmas day in Togo, while most of you who will eventually read this haven’t roused yourselves from your visions of suger plums quite yet.

Saturday is our night to feed our school teachers.  We get to enjoy their company and they get to save on groceries!  Jenna is visiting her mom in France, and Stacey’s sister Shannon is visiting her here, so we had Stacey and Shannon over last night.   We had finger foods for our Christmas Eve – mini-pizzas, miniature BBQ pork chops (they were miniature because they came from a local pig who was still squealing yesterday morning), fried rice, Indonesian satay (beef kebobs and peanut sauce)—you get the picture, all the traditional Christmas fare.

Speaking of getting the picture, it will be a while before you get any of our Christmas pictures this year.  A certain 4-year old dropped our digital camera yesterday and now all we have is a “lens error” message on the screen.  Thankfully, I bought an extended warranty, so I hope we’re covered.  Since this happened on a holiday weekend, so it may be Tuesday or so before I’m able to find out—then we’ll have to send the camera back—who knows when we’ll see it again?  I’ve taken a few photos with our old film camera and will scan a few once we develop them.

In the meantime, still speaking of photos, I’ve opened a new photo page on Flickr.  Click here or under “Links” in the side bar.  I’ve posted a few old ones and I’ll go through my archives to try to find a few more old favorites.

To my eyes, it was a little bare under our Christmas tree this year, but you wouldn’t have guessed it by the boys’ reactions to what Santa brought them.  Jeremy had been asking for a Game Boy SP, which I happened to pick up in the States back in July.  Just a few weeks ago, in his letter to Santa, he asked for a “Sonic” game for the Game Boy.  I had no idea what that was, but found it on the Internet and Shannon was able to bring it.  When he opened his presents, a literal tear came to his eye.  As we talked about it later, he said, “I was so happy, I didn’t know what to say.”  Jeremy speechless.  Now that’s a Christmas miracle.

We watched another miracle last night—Miracle on 34th Street, the original version.  With our DVD player out, it was probably quite comical to see four of us crowded around the laptop.  I had forgotten how good the movie is.  I was impressed with how well this secular Christmas story communicates an important part of the Christian message—that transforming power lies in the “intangibles”—in faith, hope, and love—and not in worldly power structures.  And that we have to keep believing this, even when “common sense” tells us otherwise.

After Santa and breakfast this morning, we went to church here in Tabligbo.  The church has been discussing its worship times, so I asked the elders on Tuesday what time they would be meeting today.  I was told 9:00.  We arrived only a few minutes late, just as they were taking the collection, which is seldom the first “act of worship.”  I soon discovered that they had changed the time to 8:00 a.m.  We only continued for another forty-five minutes or so, so the boys were thrilled with the short service.  They asked me to come back and speak next week, when they’ll meet at 7:00 a.m.  But, they told me, that’s 7:00 African time, so come at 8:00 pepepe.

Well, Christmas day is only half over, I’d better get away from the computer and enjoy it with my kids.