A Blazing, Shining Starry Christmas Eve
God gave me a gift on Christmas Eve four nights ago! P. and I had traveled out from Cochabamba with friends in their jeep on the 23rd, first on all those highland roads to and through the city of Oruro, which sits on the Altiplano (the GREAT, HIGH PLAIN of the ANDES of PERU and BOLIVIA, that stretches majestically between the Eastern Cordillera and the Western Cordillera of the Andes Range, and then on to Potosi, an old historic city that lies at 14,000 feet altitude! In Potosi we met up with two other foreign couples, both very old friends of ours, as well. The next day, Christmas Eve, we all traveled in two loaded-down jeeps out to the very rural village of Y. where one of the couples had lived and served for the past 15 years, and they still had a house that they had had built, in Y. Our aim was to do two days of Christmas vacation together, in our friends’ house in the peaceful rural area.
We arrived early afternoon, unloaded the vehicles, deeply breathed the slightly thicker air, and shed one or two of our warm clothing layers, seeing as Y. sat at only 10,000 feet in the Andes, and felt downright balmy and invigorating after the previous part-day and breathless night spent in 14,000 feet Potosi. Of course here deep down in the southern hemisphere we are in the height of full summer, same as in Australia or New Zealand. It’s always so cold in Potosi that many people won’t even go there in the winter.
We filled the rest of the afternoon with sipping water, pulling the Christmas tree out of the jeep and setting it up in the living room, searching for and locating its feet/stand deep in the recesses of a kitchen cupboard, and making homemade ornaments and a tree-topper, since all its ornaments and lights had been stolen off of it – poor little naked tree! – last Christmas Eve in the entryway of the new outreach medical clinic in Potosi.
Later that evening, maybe around eight, we had raclette and apple cider for dinner, gathered around our friends’ round wooden table in the village kitchen.
About ten we we watched “Joyeux Noel”, a movie based on the true story of the “willful fraternization” of the German and Allied troops in the front lines and trenches of World War One, in 1914, and it was wonderful.
At 11:30 p.m., Christmas Eve 1913, our host and friend said, “Let’s go outside the house and see if any stars are out!” So we did. And God gave me my Christmas gift.
THE HEAVENS DECLARE THE GLORY OF GOD! That rural Bolivian highland sky was FILLED with BILLIONS of STARS, with the planet Mars, with the SOUTHERN CROSS, ORION,the Big and Little Dippers, with Casseiopea, and so many constellations, all blazing brightly, that we couldn’t stop looking at them all. It was so beautiful and majestic it made us all want to forget about the crick in our neck from gazing up so long and hard, and just keep on worshipping God together for the rest of the night for the beauty and majesty and variety of His CREATION!