The longer I am away from the USA and ‘home’ during Christmas holidays, the more I realize what it is that I ‘miss’ and what it is that I do not. Spoiler alert: I will tell you right now… I do not miss the hustle and bustle and shopping. I do not miss gifts and all the stuff under the tree.
What I DO miss:
- I miss the Christmas tree decorations that are so sentimental to me. The ornaments that belonged to my grandmother or my mother, the ornaments that I made when I was a little girl, the ornaments that my children made when they were little ones. I miss the fancy china Lenox and Wedgewood ornaments that are super glued together because the cat climbed the tree that one year and sent all 12 feet of it crashing to the ground in the middle of the night. I miss the silly ornaments that we have bought over the years, and the ones that represent years of family vacations and places traveled.
- I miss the annual Christmas services at church all during the month of December. The Hanging of the Greens service, the children’s choir service, the symphony and choir performance, the Christmas pageant.
- I miss driving around town to see Christmas lights.
- I miss making Christmas cookies and candies.
- I miss all the yummy Christmas smells… candles and cinnamon and cloves, peppermint, apples, and cedar trees.
- I miss having a big family Christmas dinner, complete with nice tableclothes and china and silver and crystal. I miss what that special time in the kitchen meant to me – a time of preparation for the family, a time of memory making with the hubby and kids.
- I miss the cute Christmas crafts and the Christmas programs from elementary school.
- I miss family, and friends, and all the time we spent together around fireplaces and Christmas trees, laughing and keeping warm.
- I miss singing Christmas carols in church. And I especially miss singing Silent Night and lighting candles on Christmas Eve during the Candelight Service. I cry during that part… every time.
I’m a little sad to not be ‘home’ for those parts of Christmas that I miss. But I do not miss all the calendar and schedule clashes of different events and how to fit them all in. I don’t miss the last minute shopping for the gift that was forgotten. I don’t miss the gift part at all, actually. I don’t miss parking lots and fussy consumers in crowded stores.
I miss people. And traditions. And feelings. And scents. And sounds. But not gifts…
If, as Herod, we fill our lives with things,
and again with things,
if we consider ourselves so unimportant
that we must fill every moment of our lives with action,
when will we have the time
to make the long slow journey across the desert
as did the Magi?
Or sit and watch the stars
as did the Shepherds?
Or brood over the coming of the child
as did Mary?
For each of us, there is a desert to travel,
a star to discover,
and a being within ourselves to bring to life.