I mean literally that I'm dreaming of a white Christmas. The other night, I dreamt that it was snowing here in Brazil! But then I woke up to the sound of rain (p.s. it rains here a lot during this time of year); and I quickly realized it was just a dream. :)
It is so hard to believe that Christmas is only 4 days away! Without snow, I'm finding that I have to remind myself that it's the holidays! Even with the decorations, crowded malls, and songs it didn't hit me that Christmas is just around the corner until yesterday when I went to a Christmas concert with my host parents. The concert was in Catedral Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem, the cathedral of Belo Horizonte; and it was absolutely beautiful. The songs, the acoustics, and the whole atmosphere made for a lovely evening. Sure, listening to the classic Christmas songs made me feel a little homesick, but then the choir sang "The Lord Bless You and Keep You", a song that's pretty significant to me; and then it hit me like a brick wall. The tears started rolling down my cheeks and there was no stopping it. Then, it finally occurred to me that I won't be home for Christmas. But thinking about it now, I think that song was sang for a reason. To remind me that God is keeping watch over me no matter where I am. And you know what? It was exactly what I needed to be reminded of.
Exchange isn't always easy. There are moments when all you feel is defeated. Whether it's the language that's overcoming you or just feeling alone, it can be difficult. But in these past four months, I have learned that through patience, perseverance, and trust in the Lord, it is worth getting through those hard moments to be able to experience the happy ones that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Moments that I wouldn't trade for the world. :)
Well, I do believe that I will leave on that note. I probably won't put another post up until after the new year; because the day after Christmas, my family and are head to northeast Brazil to ring in 2012 in the state of Bahia. We will be on an island in a town called Boipeba; and I can't imagine spending my New Year's any other way. With beautiful beaches, amazing people, and the excitement of a new year. :)
So to everyone both near and far, a very merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.
The Lord bless you and keep you,
The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you.
The Lord life his countenance upon you, and give you peace.