Christmas Spirit

I found my Christmas Spirit. It was hiding in Eastern Europe. Who knew.

Christmas while living overseas is always a little bit complicated. It is nearly impossible to conjure up the sentiment and traditions of your past, try as you may. When we lived in Singapore there was no change of seasons to set the mood. There were still decorations around the city and Christmas carols playing at the malls, but there weren't any cedar boughs, fires giving off their warmth, or the scent of mulling spices filling the house with their friendly inviting scent. You learned to trade in the pine trees and snow for palm trees and surfing. You learned to find some new traditions to incorporate with the old. Now we live in a country that does not celebrate Christmas, and the lack of acknowledgment of the holiday has left me feeling a little disjointed.

All the more reason to get back to the real meaning of Christmas. Christmas is not found in the cedar boughs, the carols, or the external trappings of the holiday that we surround ourselves with. It is the culmination of Advent, the celebration that God did indeed come near.
"God came to us because he wanted to join us on the road, to listen to our story, and to help us realize that we are not walking in circles but moving towards the house of peace and joy.  This is the great mystery of Christmas that continues to give us comfort and consolation: we are not alone on our journey.  The God of love who gave us life sent his only Son to be with us at all times and in all places, so that we never have to feel lost but always can trust that he walks with us.
Christmas is the renewed invitation not to be afraid and to let him-whose love is greater than our own hearts and minds can comprehend-be our companion"
- Henri Nouwen, Gracias
And so, in the Christmas Markets of Europe, strolling arm and arm with my husband, breaking bread and sharing a glass of wine with friends I found my Christmas Spirit. I have friends for the journey, a family that fills my heart with immense comfort and affection, and a God who is audacious in His love for me. 

Merry Christmas!


  1. It's wonderful to realize that it's not really about the snow (there is none in Seattle and I'm bitter about it), the tinseled trees, or the wrapped gifts. The best gift was given over 2000 years ago! Merry Christmas!

  2. Lynn, I have a deep affection for Christmas in Seattle, and I understand the bitterness about the snow:) Amen to that great gift given so long ago!

  3. This is lovely, Shelly. Well said. I'm grateful to be a friend for the journey and even more so the other way around.

  4. Lovely. Isn't it wonderful when you find something you've been looking for in an unexpected place?

  5. Brooke, yes it is wonderful and sometimes all the more special.