Tuesday, December 27, 2011

celebrating what IS

Did you feel homesick at Christmas?

Christmas is a time when you get homesick
- even when you're home. 
 ~Carol Nelson

I had to laugh when I saw this quote, realizing that it's not just those of us who are far from home
but it's everyone who feels a little of that nostalgia, 
that longing for what used to be -
Christmases of our youth, or of our children's youth.

 I decided that this Christmas, instead of mourning what has been,
I'd celebrate what IS this year, this moment.

And in the middle of doing just that, I didn't take many photos at all...

No photos of our Christmas Eve dinner...yummy bean burritos concocted by Mark,
or of our traditional plate heaped high with Christmas goodies to munch
while we watched our traditional Muppet Christmas Carol (how refined we are!)
or of the glowing candlelight on our hymnals as we sang our way through all the Christmas carols we know...

No photos of Christmas morning stockings and gifts,
of our packed jeepney ride to church,
or of the clouds and rain that brought heavenly relief from the heat.

But we do have some photos of events surrounding our family Christmas...
Like the church party beforehand...
40 people gathered in our home to enjoy good fellowship, food, music, and fun.
Below you can see a few special moments...
all of us gathered together singing, DaiDai enthralled by the tree, Kuya Alan trying Michael's scooter, friends stirring up a fish salad in my kitchen, Inday and Tata labeling white elephant gifts to put under the tree...dear friends who graced our home.  Thank you for making Christmas all the more rich for us, friends!

 The next series of photos are from a special craft we did with the Sunday School...fleece tie-pillows, to remind us of Him Who had no place to lay His head.
Red on one side, to remind us of the blood that Jesus came to shed on the cross;
white on the other side to remind us of the cleansing power of His blood.

 Normally quiet and reserved kids were bouncing up and down, so excited to make these.  And even the older ones loved to make something that would be useful and special.

Christmas Day evening,  friends joined us for supper and games, and for time to reflect and share about our day, and our families back home, and of Christmases past and present.

Above, Mark and the guys in stiff competition; Amy and Elise in a friendly Dutch Blitz frenzy with Christy;
quiet fellowship among friends; and Michael meets his match in two energetic pre-school friends!

May this coming new year ahead be, 
for each of us, 
one of celebrating what IS, 
this very moment,
giving thanks to the Father,
from Whom comes every good and perfect gift!


OliveTree said...

Thanks for this great reminder to celebrate what IS! I could relate to being homesick for what used to be. We probably don't even have realistic memories of our past, instead we've just built up an image in our mind of what Christmas used to be or should be. So this is a great encouragement to me, to celebrate what is!

Jamie Jo said...

Lovely post! How true that Christmas stirs up nostalgia and homesickness. I needed this reminder. We now have more kids grown up and gone than we do at home, and sometimes it is easy to sink into memories of the good ol' days rather than enjoying what is going on right under my nose. I, too, have so MUCH to be thankful for.

Bless you in the New Year!

us5 said...

you're so right, Olive Tree! i need to ponder this more. i wonder if what we are truly homesick for is actually HIM, the Christ of Christmas?

and yes, Jamie Jo, i need the constant reminder, too, even though our children are still right here with us! cyber hugs to you as you miss those of yours who are far from home, and enjoy each moment with those still in your nest! ♥