Our Christmas Letter is here! ..Enjoy… (written by Dave)
A year ago I sat down to write the Rohde Christmas letter full of worry. My job was about to end, a new one—the one for which I had been training my entire adult life—was nowhere to be found and the thought of living off of one salary hung heavily over our heads. We longed to start the next chapter in our lives but were stuck. The uncertainty was numbing.
As I write this year’s letter I am still overwhelmed by the path in front of us. But the uncertainty no longer haunts me; it gives me hope. It’s often the adventures we least expect that draw us near to God.
We celebrate Christmas because of the unexpected gift of a vulnerable yet mighty infant. The paradox has left us dumfounded for ages. It doesn’t make sense. It’s not how I would have written the story. It should have been simpler. Instead God chose to teach us through the birth, ministry, death and resurrection of Christ—a journey full of blind corners and unending horizons.
Most of you know that Hailey and I are living in Malawi, spending a year pastoring a church and witnessing how God is moving on the other side of the planet. It is both trying and eye-opening. It’s not the place we would’ve chosen to end up (for over a year I said I’d never spend more than a few weeks here), but we couldn’t imagine being anywhere else in the world at this time in our lives.
We love being here, but hate being away from you all. We joke that if we could just move our family, friends and the comforts of home to Africa we could stay here forever (don’t worry Grandma, we’re still planning on coming home in July). We dearly miss family traditions, laughing with friends around the dinner table and celebrating Christmas surrounded by the beauty of San Diego. But in the same way that we are called to look forward to uncertain adventures, Christ calls us to remain and rest in the present. It would be easy for Hailey and me to dwell on what we don’t have this holiday season, but that would defeat the purpose of why we are here.
This Christmas we have been forced to look at the essentials of what we celebrate. It’s eye opening not to be surrounded by what the western world has made of this holiday and refreshing to see the story of Jesus’ birth from a different perspective. Our prayer for you this year is that, as distractions surface, you would each be able to take a few minutes to be awed by the wonder and joy of God’s love.
May the Grace and Peace of Christ guide us all,
Dave and Hailey